Every year on May 25th, National Missing Children’s Day shines a spotlight on the safety of children. Additionally, the day honors the dedicated professionals who work tirelessly to protect children throughout the country.
The majority of children who go missing return home. There are a lot of people who find their way back to their families, whether they wandered off or there was a misunderstanding. According to the Polly Klaas Foundation, 99.8% of children reported missing are found. 9 percent of abducted children have family members who abduct them. Only a small proportion are abducted by strangers. The fact remains, though, if one child suffers, that’s too many children.
History of National Missing Children’s Day
On May 25, 1979, Etan Patz was only six years old when he disappeared from his New York City home on his way from bus to school. The date of his disappearance was designated as National Missing Children’s Day. At the time, cases of missing children rarely garnered national media attention, but his case quickly received extensive coverage. His father, a professional photographer, distributed black-and-white photographs of him in an effort to find him. The resulting massive search and media attention that followed focused the public’s attention on the problem of child abduction and the lack of plans to address it.
Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25, 1983, the first National Missing Children’s Day in memory of 6-year-old Etan Patz, who disappeared on May 25, 1979, from a New York City Street corner. The Department of Justice honors agencies, organizations, and individuals who undertake heroic and exemplary efforts to safeguard children on Missing Children’s Day each year.
Significance of National Missing Children’s Day
The goal of Missing Children’s Day is to encourage parents, guardians, caregivers, and others concerned with the well-being of children to make child safety a priority. It serves as a reminder to continue our efforts to reunite missing children with their families, as well as an opportunity to remember those who have dedicated their lives to this cause.