A Child Is Missing, Inc. (ACIM) is an Alert and Recovery Center that assists law enforcement in the early search and recovery of missing children (often with Autism, Down Syndrome), the elderly (often with Alzheimer’s, Dementia), the disabled, on-campus college students and other vulnerable populations, in the first hours of their search. ACIM is a public/private partnership with no jurisdictional restraints. We are available to law enforcement 24/7, 365 days a year. We provide Educational Awareness and Prevention Programs for children and adolescents, vulnerable/at-risk youth, other high-risk populations, the general public, and train law enforcement officers nationwide.
Pursuant to our mission in safeguarding communities through our ALERT Program, A Child Is Missing (ACIM) has developed our CASE (Child and Adolescent Safety Education) Programs, which provide vital education to children and adolescents who otherwise might not receive this safety education and anti-bullying instruction. Our experienced teachers deliver these programs to children ages 5 through 17, in collaboration with the existing Parks and Recreation Departments, Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs, YMCAs, Public, Private and Alternative Schools, Social Services Agencies and the Department of Juvenile Justice.
As law enforcement calls to ACIM for assistance in locating the missing increase, so too new forms of danger to children and adolescents increase. In the past “stranger danger” was an effective way to teach children to be safe, but now we know significant harm can be done to children by people with whom they are familiar. Strangers no longer exist only on the outside; they can now enter our homes, anytime of the day or night, through the internet. These facts, and so many more, have resulted in the need to update current information and construct new, more effective safety and prevention information in its place. This is the goal of our CASE Programs.
Every year, millions of children and adolescents in the United States are impacted upon by abuse, exploitation, neglect and violence in their homes, schools and communities. They are often placed in dangerous situations or place themselves in danger; they are often not safe and do not know how to keep themselves safe. Just a few examples…
· Nearly 800,000 children younger than 18 (797,500) were reported missing in a one-year period of time, resulting in an average of 2,185 children being reported missing each day.
· 1 in 5 Girls and 1 in 10 Boys will be sexually abused before their 18th Birthday.
· 90% of Children with a Disability will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime and only 1-3% of those cases will ever be brought to light.
· Approximately 1 in 7 youth online (10 to 17) will receive a sexual solicitation/approach over the internet.
· Approximately 5,000 runaway youth die due to assault, illness or suicide each year.
· 82% of suspected incidents of Human Trafficking in the U.S constituted Sex Trafficking; 40% of these incidents contained allegations of prostitution/sexual exploitation of a child.
· Nearly 1 in 3 students is involved in bullying.
· While school violence as a whole is declining, bullying behaviors have increased by 5%, with 86% of public schools reporting one or more incidents of violence or theft due to intimidation/bullying.
How much better served will our most vulnerable citizens be if we are able to prevent, or at the very least minimize, their exposure to abuse, neglect and violence through open channels of communication provided by the A Child Is Missing CASE Programs? Will they then be better equipped to learn, to live and to grow into thriving, productive adults? A Child Is Missing believes so. Our commitment to Public Safety through our Educational Awareness and Prevention Programs and support of Law Enforcement continues; and, we continue to strive to diminish the public’s exposure to violence and help ensure their safety in potentially dangerous situations.
So, how do we keep our children and adolescents safe? A Child Is Missing, Inc. believes that educational and prevention programs that enhance community awareness and community involvement will help ensure their safe-keeping. But, we must also give these vulnerable youth the skill-sets they need to help ensure their own safety. We must couple adult awareness with self-empowerment tools for children and adolescents.