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Missing Children, State Care, and Child Sex Trafficking: Engaging the Judiciary in Building a Collaborative Response

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2015
14 pages
This technical-assistance brief informs judges about steps they can take to assist in the location and recovery of children who run away or go missing from court-ordered placements.
Swift action in these cases is particularly important because of the high risk that these run-away and otherwise missing children will be recruited for commercial sexual exploitation. This brief has five major sections that are pertinent to judicial action that can facilitate a swift response. The first section outlines what judges can do at both the individual-case level and the community level to ensure swift action. The focus is on judicial action that ensures a coordinated response. One recommendation is that judges issue individual orders to social workers and juvenile justice workers to report missing children to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). Following up on this recommendation, this brief's second section discusses what judges need to know about how NCMEC responds when a child goes missing from court-ordered care. The third section identifies features of judicial leadership needed to build a collaborative response in such cases. The intent of such judicial leadership is to bring stakeholders together, including child welfare, juvenile justice agencies and law enforcement agencies, in order to review their policies on how NCMEC and other local and national organizations can be included as resources in efforts to bring missing children home safely. The brief's fourth section provides information on the mission and procedures of the NCMEC in cases of missing and exploited children. The fifth section provides similar information on the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ).

Date Published: June 1, 2015