On the eve of National Runaways Month, Reps. Maloney and Poe introduce bill to strengthen national database of runaway children
--Estimated 16% of Runaways Never Entered Into
National Database Meant to Help Police Find Them--
WASHINGTON, DC – Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) and Ted Poe (R-TX) yesterday introduced the “Runaway Reporting Improvement Act,” H.R. 3427, which would strengthen the nation’s runaway reporting system and provide families with resources to find missing children. Each year an estimated 1.6 million children run away from home and 16 percent of them are never entered into the national database used to help police find them.
“Too many runaway children are missing not just from their homes, but also from the very database meant to help law enforcement and parents find them,” Rep. Maloney said. “The tools needed are already in place; they just have to be used properly, and this bill will help ensure that. It’s all too obvious that if no one knows a child is missing, that child is unlikely to be found. We simply must do better by our children and their families.”
“When it comes to finding a missing child, spreading information is everything,” said Rep. Poe. “The tools to do that are already available through the National Crime Information Center. It is imperative that law enforcement agencies use this capability immediately to find runaway children and bring them home safely.”
The legislation would require that law enforcement agencies certify that they comply with federal law by entering all missing children into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database. Second, the bill would require that law enforcement officers provide information about the services of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the National Runaway Safeline (NRS), as well as 24-hour, toll-free contact information to anyone who reports their child missing. NCMEC and NRS have a long and successful history of helping parents and law enforcement agencies work together to find and protect missing children.
“The National Network for Youth applauds Representatives Maloney and Poe’s leadership on addressing the holes that exist in systems that seek to prevent, protect and provide safety for America’s runaway and homeless children and youth. Every parent and adult caring for runaway and missing children and youth should be provided with the relevant resources and services available to respond to youth and families in crisis,” said Darla Bardine, Policy Director of National Network for Youth.
National Runaways Month is observed each November.
In October 2009, The New York Times published a two-part series, “Running in the Shadows,” which reported that 9,625 out of the 61,452 runaways reported from January 2004 to January 2009 were never entered into the NCIC. 267 of the unreported runaways remain missing, and 58 have been found dead.
Full text of the bill may be found here: maloney.house.gov/sites/maloney.house.gov/files/documents/women/MALONE_205_xml.pdf