Missing Child Poster FAQs
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Distribute Missing Child Flyers in Your Community
Do posters really help find missing children?
Yes they do. Many children have been found through posters.
- People recognize the child and call their leads into the Polly Klaas Foundation or the law enforcement agency listed on the poster.
- Runaways will often see their own poster and realize that their family wants them to return home. Sometimes, copies of their poster have been found in the pocket of their jeans once they return home.
Who decides to create a missing child poster?
When a child goes missing, parents first call their local law enforcement and file a missing persons report. After that, many parents call the Polly Klaas Foundation. Our professional caseworkers talk with the parents and with the law enforcement officers working the case. If both parties agree, our caseworkers create the poster from information provided by the parents. The missing child's poster is sent to the family for distribution in their community, placed on our website, faxed to our distribution lists, and sent out to our Rapid Response Team for distribution.
A lot of the missing child posters are for children kidnapped by a family member. Aren't those just "domestic disputes?"
Family abductions, also called parental abductions, account for almost 80% of abducted children each year. In these situations, the child is torn from all that is familiar, is often lied to and endangered. The consequences can last a lifetime. At the Polly Klaas Foundation, we respect the custody decisions of family courts and work to restore each child to his or her legally designated guardian. For more information, see our information on preventing family abductions.
I also see posters for children who have run away.
The myth about runaways is that they are not at risk because they've chosen to leave home. The truth is that kids who run away rarely have the background to survive life on the streets without becoming more endangered through drug use and prostitution. And some "runaways" are later found to have been abducted or lured by a predator.
I saw a news report of a missing child, but I don't see that child on your website and haven't been asked to put up a poster. I would like to help.
We can only create posters when the parents and local law enforcement ask us to provide this service. Sometimes law enforcement officials do not want posters distributed because they don't want to "scare off" a suspected abductor. Also, not all missing children are reported to the Polly Klaas Foundation. If you know a family with a child who has been abducted, please let them know we can help them search for their missing child.
You are personally making a difference.
You are joining a large group of people who are actively searching for missing children.