Montreal, May 1, 2020
“Today, the Missing Children’s Network officially launched Missing Children’s Month with this year’s theme, “Keeping Hope Alive”. The objective of this month is to raise awareness about the plight of missing and exploited children and to inform parents about what they can do in order to better protect their children.
Last year, according to the RCMP’s 2019 Annual Report, law enforcement in Quebec registered 5,805 cases of missing children. This is a slight decrease as compared to 5,927 cases in the previous year. While the news is encouraging, we can all concur that one missing child is already one too many. Once again, runaway youth account for the majority of all reported cases.
The Missing Children’s Network will put several initiatives into place during the entire month of May, including sharing poignant messages of hope by searching families, posting practical safety tips on the organization’s social media platforms, unveiling of its annual poster featuring 12 unresolved missing children cases and hosting several Facebook Live sessions to help parents build their children’s self-confidence and critical thinking skills, thus preparing their youth for potentially dangerous situations should they arise.
As COVID-19 continues to disrupt and impact our lives, recent reports indicate that children who are home may potentially have more unrestricted time online, thereby increasing their risk of falling victim to abuse and exploitation. The Missing Children’s Network is using this period to reinforce its presence on social media by reaching families and children on the very same platforms that they use daily, and sensitizing them about the importance of staying safe, both in the real world and online. The organization has developed new educational resources intended to encourage parents to have on-going communication about online safety, and help youth adopt sound safety habits.
About – International Missing Children’s Day
Missing Children’s Day was first recognized by former President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, on May 25, 1983. May 25this the date that six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from a New York City street corner on his way to school. Etan’s case remains one of thousands of unsolved missing children’s cases and this day serves as an annual reminder of our responsibilities to ensure the well-being and safety of our children.
In 1986, the Solicitor General of Canada declared May 25th to be National Missing Children’s Day in Canada. Today, this annual awareness day is international in scope with over 50 countries pausing on May 25th to honour its missing children.
About the Missing Children’s Network
On May 21, 2020, the Missing Children’s Network will mark its 35th anniversary! An incredible milestone for a small grassroots organization that literally first operated out of the trunk of one of the co-founders’ personal vehicle! The enthusiasm, determination and unprecedented success in several unresolved cases of missing children eventually earned the organization the confidence and unwavering support of law enforcement agencies, hundreds of volunteers, and numerous corporate and community partners.
Through the years, the Missing Children’s Network has made great strides in recovering missing children and in the prevention of their disappearances. Today, the organization has collaborated with law enforcement in reuniting over 1,600 children with their families. Because the safety and well-being of children is also at the very heart of our mission, over 225,000 youngsters have received practical safety education instruction. The organization also offers an abundance of age-appropriate safety documentation that support parents in helping keep their children safe as they grow and develop.
The Missing Children’s Network is a front-line partner of the AMBER Alert Program in Quebec and a recognized partner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) National Centre for Missing Persons and Unidentified Remains (NCMPUR).”