The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) was created in 1984 by the United States Congress. Two important child abductions that spurred the formation of the NCMEC were the abduction of six-year-old Etan Patz in New York City, and the murder of six-year-old Adam Walsh in Hollywood, Florida. Both cases were riddled with problems due to the lack of a national law enforcement database related to missing children. Founders believed that because police could track information about stolen objects with the FBI’s national crime computer, the same type of system could be used for children.
As a result, Congress passed the Missing Children’s Assistance Act, which established a National Resource Center and Clearinghouse on Missing and Exploited Children in 1984. The nationwide 24-hour toll-free hotline 1-800-THE-LOST was created at the same time.
The Justice Department funds most of the NCMEC, which acts as an information resource for communities, parents, schools, and law enforcement agencies. The NCMEC also helps locate missing children, raises public awareness about child abduction, child sexual abuse and child pornography. Additionally, the Center provides critical information to assist physically and sexually abused children. To do this, the NCMEC circulates photos of missing children and accepts information provided by the public. The NCMEC also coordinates efforts with state and federal law enforcement communities.
In 1995, applications seeking the return of or access to children in the United States under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction were processed through the NCMEC for the United States Department of State, Office of Children’s Issues under contract with the United States Department of State and the United States Department of Justice. In 2008, the Office of Children’s Issues in the Department of State took back duties for processing incoming cases under the Hague Abduction Convention. Consequently, NCMEC now receives coveted status as a government contractor and funding of over 40 million dollars each year from the U.S. Government.
The NCMEC formed a separate international organization in 1998. The International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), was a product of these efforts and conducts similar work internationally. In 2008, the ICMEC was given “Special Consultative Status” with the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). At that point is was allowed to assist the UN by providing important information about the sexual exploitation and abduction of children.
Any and all advice contained herein is intended only to assist parents and families of missing and abducted children. For more tips and advice, contact your local law enforcement or FBI office. Further information can also be obtained by calling the nationwide 24-hour toll-free hotline 1-800-THE-LOST.
About The National Academy for Child Abduction Prevention Associates, LLC:
Founded in 2013 by Roy M. Doppelt, Esq., the National Academy for Child Abduction and Prevention Associates, LLC is an Academy of family law attorneys advocating prevention of child abduction through public education and professional collaboration. We believe that educating the public about kidnapping and its prevention is a paramount duty of attorneys who represent family law clients.