When a child goes missing, it is imperative that everyone – parents, communities, and law enforcement – work together to find and protect him or her. For that reason, federal law already requires that every reported runaway be listed as a “missing person” in the National Crime Information Center database. Unfortunately, compliance with this law is not perfect: a recent series in the New York Times revealed that more than 15% of reported runaways are not entered in the NCIC database.
The NCIC database can be accessed by virtually every federal, state, and local law enforcement officer, allowing them to share information and work together. When a missing child is not entered in the database, he or she is much less likely to be found: law enforcement officers simply don’t know there’s anyone to look for! I have introduced legislation that will help find and protect runaway children by requiring law enforcement agencies to:
- Certify that their agency is complying with federal law by entering all missing children into the NCIC database, and
- Provide the parents/guardians of missing children direct access to resources including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National Runaway Switchboard.
07/28/2011 - H.R. 2688, Runaway Reporting Improvement Act of 2011 [112th Congress]