It’s summertime and most kiddos are not in school right now. Whenever this time of year is upon us, we see an uptick in the reporting of missing children. Sometimes kids evade their parents. We get it and we will absolutely help you look for them when that occurs. However, there is a difference between that happening once and it being a repeated pattern of not knowing where your child is. You do have a legal obligation to know where your kids are. Generally speaking, children who are 13 and younger should not be out and about on their own.
Likewise, if your child shows up at your home with a group of friends, make sure you know who those kids are, who their parents are, and that the parents are aware their child is with you. Talk with the parents yourself to confirm. Keep a list of your children’s friends, their parents’ names, addresses, and phone numbers. If your children suddenly appear with other kids who are not known to you, you need to start asking questions. It’s not uncommon for police to locate missing kids sleeping over at a friend’s house wherein the parents in that home didn’t inquire as to who the new little person was sleeping on their couch.
What do you do when you can’t locate your child? Follow these steps:
Do you know where officers most commonly find missing kids? IN THEIR OWN HOUSE. Kids like to hide and then they fall asleep and have no idea all the big people are losing their minds looking for them. Check your own home well to include under beds, in closets, in the clothes dryer (seriously), under a pile of clothes, and in your vehicles.
Check with the parents of their friends. That is also a good way to determine if your child is by himself/herself or if they’ve gone on an adventure with a friend.
Check locations where your child most commonly goes to play like a neighborhood park or a school playground.
Once you’ve exhausted the above list, it’s time to call police. Most of the time it’s appropriate to call the non-emergency dispatch phone number 3-1-1 (option #1) or 907-786-8900 (press “0”). If there are extenuating circumstances such as your child having a mental health concern, physical health concern, suspicious circumstances surrounding the disappearance, or if it’s very cold outside and you believe your child may be outdoors, then call 9-1-1.
When police are actively looking for a missing juvenile, please help us out. If the child has gone missing in the neighborhood where you live, check your own yard and home to make sure someone isn’t there who shouldn’t be. The more eyes we have searching, the quicker the child can be found.