Welcome to the MissingKids.ca information centre on missing children. Here you will find important information about the different types of missing children cases, how to search for a missing child, what to do when a child is located, as well as helpful prevention strategies.
If you are worried that your child may be at risk of going missing, please refer to the appropriate section (i.e. Runaway, Parental Child Abduction, Stranger Abduction, Lost, or Unknown and Young Adult) that applies to your child’s situation. In each section you will find information on possible ways to reduce your child’s risk of going missing, including strategies to protect them from harm.
If your child has gone missing, please refer to the appropriate section (i.e. Runaway, Parental Child Abduction, Stranger Abduction, Lost, or Unknown and Young Adult) that relates to the circumstances surrounding your child’s disappearance. In each section you will find information on what to do, how to search for your child, steps to take with law enforcement and the public, and what to do when your child comes home.
Start Here – Select a category of missing child:
Runaway — Defined as any child under the age of 18 who is believed to have run away from their home or place of residence for any number of reasons. This may include situations where it is suspected that the child has been coerced or encouraged to leave home by a third party (not their parent). This may also include children that have run away on a number of occasions in the past or who are in the care of a child welfare agency and are believed to have voluntarily left their placement.
Parental Child Abduction — From the Criminal Code of Canada, parental child abduction is defined as the following: “if one parent takes or keeps a child under 14 years of age away from the other parent without the other's consent, he or she may be charged with parental child abduction (kidnapping) under the Criminal Code of Canada. It doesn't matter if there is a Canadian court order of custody or not. Special consent from the [provincial] Department of Justice must be given before a parental child abduction charge can be laid where there is no Canadian custody order.”
Stranger Abduction — Defined as any child under the age of 18 who is believed to have been wrongfully taken by a non-family member through the use of physical force, persuasion or threat of bodily harm. This primarily involves situations where someone has witnessed the abduction of the child and therefore has information regarding the alleged abductor. Non-family members include friends, community members, acquaintances, and extended family members.
Lost - Defined as any child under the age of 18 who, for some reason, appears to have wandered away from a parent or guardian and gotten lost. In these cases, there is no evidence of an abduction.
Unknown and Young Adults – This category includes both children under the age of 18 as well as young adults 18 to 25 years of age. The category of “unknown” is defined as when a child or young adult cannot be located, however, there is insufficient evidence to place the child or young adult’s case into any of the above categories. This may also involve situations where a child or young adult may have been involved in an accident, where there are environmental factors that may affect their ability to return home (e.g. snowstorm), or there is a medical or other concern that may affect their ability or willingness to return home.