History and Mission

History and Mission


Polly’s Story

Our Mission

The Polly Klaas Foundation is a Petaluma, CA based, national nonprofit dedicated to the safety of all children, the recovery of missing children, and public policies that keep children safe in their communities.

Since our founding in 1993, the Foundation has used our compassion, experience and professionalism to help more than 10,000 families find their missing children.

The Beginnings of the Polly Klaas Foundation

In the midst of searching for Polly, phone calls began coming in from other parents whose children were missing. These parents wanted advice on ways to find their children. Some volunteers at the Polly Klaas Search Center began to specialize in helping other parents find their missing children.

Within a month after Polly’s kidnapping, the volunteer search team received official non-profit status. And the Polly Klaas Foundation was born.

By working together with families, the community, law enforcement, policymakers, and media, we educate children, parents, and the entire community on how to bring children home and keep them safe.

The Polly Klaas Foundation is dedicated to the safety of all children.

The Story of Polly Klaas

The Heart of the Foundation

Finding Missing Children – Our 24/7 Hotline


Parents and law enforcement officials call our hotline 24 hours a day; 7 days a week. The Foundation never closes. Initial phone calls with parents or guardians will take as much time as they need to explain the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of their child. We counsel families on ways to search for their children, offer missing child posters, fax and internet blasts to businesses. We forward leads to law enforcement officials, and keep family members informed of their child’s case as search efforts evolve. (link to Cindy’s information on Response Department)

Our Rapid Response Team eVolunteers provide feet on the street by distributing posters of missing children in their communities throughout the United States. If you would like to become part of our Rapid Response Team, please click here.  

We are the national leader in the field of missing children.  Our caseworkers attend daily to the anguish felt by parents of missing children, and turn that anguish into action. While any missing child case is devastating, 97% of our missing child cases return home safely. We receive new cases regularly, but we hold our older cases, some of which have been missing for decades, just as close to our hearts. Much of our work involves helping families to cope, and holding on to hope with them.

Keeping Kids Safe – Our National Outreach and Advocacy Work


We work with policy makers nationwide creating legislation, like Amber Alerts, to help keep children safe. We played a major role in implementing the Amber Alert system, which is responsible for returning hundreds of abducted and at-risk children home safely. You can learn more about our legislative work by clicking here.

Preventing Children From Going Missing in the First Place – Our Education Programs


We provide FREE child safety and Internet safety information to parents on a national level. Our materials are recognized as a leader in the field. Instead of motivating with fear, our materials and programs encourage parents to talk matter-of-factly with kids about personal safety. Our materials offer age-appropriate ways of communicating starting with very young children, through teenage years. Click here to request a free child safety kit.

Youth take surprising risks online. In light of how much time our children spend online today, (either for entertainment, or school work), all parents need to be informed with more realistic strategies and guidance to help protect their children from online adult predators. For more information please click here.

Locally, we offer Social Media Safety Education to middle-school students. Currently this program is available in Northern California Communities. With appropriate funding, we will continue to grow this program, to reach more students every year. Special thanks to our sponsors for helping to fund this vital education for our children. If you are a teacher in Northern California, please register now for this free program for your students, which meets or exceeds state guidelines for education on human trafficking.

Missing Cases Handled Annually

Families of Missing Children Helped

Rapid Response Volunteers

Child Safety Kits Distributed


of Missing Child Cases Were Recovered and Returned Home Safely

Missing Child Posters Distributed Annually