July 16, 2015

Missing Children, State Care, and Child Sex Trafficking

A June 2015 publication developed by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) provides information about resources that can help juvenile justice and child welfare agencies, law enforcement, legal guardians, and others involved in efforts to locate and recover children missing from care.

In this publication, NCMEC and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges put forth recommendations for the development of model policies and procedures for judges to follow when a child runs away or goes missing from care.  The publication suggests that judges could:

• require each agency to take a current photograph of the child, and an updated photograph of a child who returns to care from a runaway episode, and maintain an easily accessible electronic copy in agency records;
• issue an order requiring each agency to take certain steps, such as ensuring that law enforcement authorities immediately enter the child’s name and identifying information into the FBI’s NCIC Missing Person File and provide documentation of such to the court;
• issue individual orders to social workers or juvenile justice workers or a standing order in their jurisdiction to report children missing from care to NCMEC; and
• continue the child welfare or juvenile justice placement even for children who reach the age of majority and are still missing or are missing for long periods of time, so those children can easily access services if and when they are located.

The recommendations suggest a collaborative approach that engages the judiciary; child welfare, juvenile justice, and law enforcement agencies; NCMEC; and other national organizations.

The full publication is available below: