The FBI Washington Field Office joins the observance of National Missing Children’s Day every year on May 25th, but we work every day to help bring missing children home to their families.
An unfortunate reality is that thousands of children are reported missing each year. The FBI works with our law enforcement partners, both domestically and internationally, to recover child victims as quickly as possible and help apprehend those responsible for taking them. Our Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD) teams, made up of specially trained and experienced FBI personnel, provide immediate, on-the-ground assistance to state and local law enforcement in cases of child abductions and disappearances. The FBI also works closely with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and contributes to international task forces that investigate crimes against children.
The FBI Washington Field Office’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force, composed of federal, state, and local law enforcement partners from Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia, is charged with investigating child abductions, as well as child exploitation and human trafficking.
“The FBI works daily with our law enforcement and private sector partners to locate missing children and juveniles,” said Supervisory Special Agent Barbara Smith. “Every minute counts when a child is lost or missing and it’s our goal to find these children as soon as possible so that they are not left alone to be exploited and preyed upon by criminals. Children are our most vulnerable population, and we are dedicated to assisting our law enforcement partners and locating missing children, as well as investigating some of the most egregious crimes against children.”
Because time is critical when a child is lost or missing, the FBI created the FBI Child ID App to help parents keep their children’s information readily available. The free app provides a convenient place to electronically store photos and vital information about your children on your smartphone. Users can show the pictures and provide physical identifiers to security or police officers on the spot if a child is missing or lost and can also quickly and easily email the information to authorities. The app also includes tips on keeping children safe, as well as specific guidance on what to do in those first few crucial hours after a child goes missing.
Sadly, not every missing child is found. Information regarding missing children from across the country can be found on our website. If you have any information regarding one of these missing children, please call the FBI Washington Field Office at (202) 278-2000, or submit tips to 1-800-CALL-FBI or online at tips.fbi.gov. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) also maintains a 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST.