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Categorized | News

Has your child run away?

By Sarah Krebs, Missing in Michigan

The bulk of our missing persons cases are voluntary. And most of them are under the age of 21. In fact, we (law enforcement) in Michigan take over 1,000 juvenile runaway cases every week.

This being said- you may feel like nothing is being done about your child’s runaway case. I’d like to offer some tips:

1. Don’t panic. Most runaway cases resolve themselves within the week. Most kids run due to not wanting to follow rules at home.

2. Check with their friends. And let their friends parents know they are missing. Most kids take refuge at a friend’s house. Their parents may not be aware you are looking for them and let them stay.

3. Report their disappearance to the police after your initial search within friends. Do not just put it on social media. Law enforcement has to take the report of a missing juvenile. All the way up to the age of 21. If they try to refuse, you can cite these laws: The Missing Children’s Act (enforces the police to take the report and enter them into NCIC) and The Protect Act (“Suzanne’s Law”-extends the law to 18-20 year olds).

4. If your child is in danger you may ask the law-enforcement agency to put out an alert. Michigan has the endangered missing advisory (EMA), and the AMBER Alert. The AMBER Alert has to have had an abduction take place, and the child (under 18) has to be believed to be in danger.

5. You may also report your child missing to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST. This should be done especially if you believe the child is endangered or was taken out of state.

6. If your child is missing due to a custody dispute (a parental abduction) you want to ask the friend of the court for an emergency hearing if you do not have custody established. Your child may still be entitled to an alert. Have this done ahead of time so it doesn’t slow the process.

6. You always have the resources of the Michigan State Police Missing Children’s Clearinghouse. Call and ask for resources if your child does not come home 24/7. Reach them at 1-517-241-8000 or MSP-MissingPersons@michigan.gov.

And finally…

7. Monitor your children’s online activity. The majority of our missing children that have left home with strangers, have been people they have met online. 1 in 6 runaways are subjected to some sort of sex trafficking during their run (NCMEC stat). Sextortion is also a factor in some disappearances. This is not snooping, this is parenting. If you pay that bill that is your phone, not your child’s.

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