Today, May 25th, 2013 is National Missing Children’s Day. As a parent… and a child advocate… I ask you to show your support by assisting organizations that deal with missing children and help spread the word.
On May 25, 1979, six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from a New York street corner on his way to school. His photo, taken by his father, a professional photographer, was circulated nationwide and appeared in media across the nation and around the world. Etan became the poster-child for a movement. The powerful image came to symbolize the anguish and trauma of thousands of searching families.
The widespread attention brought to Etan’s case and several others eventually led to a nationwide movement to help locate and recover missing children. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25th – the day that Etan went missing – as National Missing Children’s Day. Since then, each administration has recognized this day as a time to renew efforts to reunite missing children with their families, remember those who are still missing, and make child safety a national priority.
As a child advocate, both for those with autism and also assisting the I CARE Foundation in their work to help bring awareness to international parental child abduction, National Missing Children’s Day has a couple of meanings to me. Through my efforts with the I CARE Foundation, I think of the children that have been abducted, in this case, by one parent from another, but really it’s also about those children that have become a victim of a stranger abduction as well. When I started assisting the I CARE Foundation, I knew nothing about parental abduction. I have never been a targeted parent… I don’t pretend to ‘understand’ what it is like to have to go through what these families go through… but I can do my part to help by raising awareness.
Peter Thomas Senese, the Founding Director of the I CARE Foundation, shared in a blog post this morning that ‘it is estimated that at least 8 million children worldwide go missing each year or 22,000 a day. The majority of these child-victim disappearances, abductions and kidnappings could have been avoided if society was more proactive in protecting innocence.’ In support of National Missing Children’s Day, the I CARE Foundation is asking for help in sharing the vital information about the risk of parental abductions during summer vacations. The upcoming summer holidays are one of the most prominent times of the year for parental abductions to occur. With your help in sharing this information, you may very well be protecting the lives of innocent children… stopping these children from becoming a target for abduction… stopping them from becoming a missing child.
The following articles share the information that will help a family that is at risk of abduction. The key is getting this information out to those that need it – and that’s where you can help!
Now, one theme that runs through today is child safety. I have been talking a lot about this lately on my blog but more in relation to autism and elopement behaviours because statistics state that 49% of those children diagnosed with autism exhibit some type of wandering behaviours. And though teaching our children with autism about safety is a fair bit more challenging, it’s something that we must do… just like every other parent out there. In relation to autism and elopement behaviours – ensuring that you are able to keep your child on the spectrum as safe as you possibly can – I have been sharing links like AWAARE.org, National Autism Association and Autism Risk Management. Taking some time now could help reduce the risk of wandering-related incidents or deaths, but also, if it was to happen in your family, there is information on what you can do to be prepared if such an incident should occur. Let’s ensure that we do what we can to keep our kids safe.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has created the Take 25 Campaign. This campaign is designed to raise awareness and encourage parents, educators and others to take 25 minutes to talk to children about safety. Prevention… I can’t say it enough! Prevention and education can make the difference in protecting our children. So why not start here and Take 25?
Please show your support today for the families that have had to and are currently dealing with the trauma of having a missing child… pass this information on! It may well save the life of a child!