Missing Children

Missing Children

While the term "missing children" may seem clear, a close examination of the issue would reveal a spectrum of circumstances ranging from a misunderstanding about schedules to running away or being the victim of an abduction. Through the National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART) and its follow-up, NISMART-2, CCRC researchers sought to create a unified estimate of the number and type of missing children. To accomplish this, NISMART-2 defined missing children as either caretaker missing - when a child is missing from their caretaker - or reported missing - when a child is missing from their caretaker and is reported missing to an agency for help locating them.

Sources: Highlights from the NISMART Bulletins. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. (2002). Juvenile Justice Fact Sheet, Washington, DC.

Andrea J. Sedlak, David Finkelhor, Heather Hammer and Dana J. Schultz (2002). National Estimates of Missing Children: An Overview. Juvenile Justice Bulletin–NCJ196465,1-12. Order #MC16

Featured Articles

National Estimates of Missing Children: Selected Trends, 1988-1999.
Hammer, H., Finkelhor, D., Sedlak, A.J., and Porcellini L. (2004).

This Bulletin presents results of a special analysis comparing selected findings from NISMART-2 and its predecessor, NISMART-1. The analysis, which is based on household surveys of adult caretakers and covers victims of family abductions, runaways, and children categorized as "lost, injured, or otherwise missing," highlights trends from 1988 to 1999 and reveals some encouraging news.

In the three categories considered, the analysis finds:

Nonfamily Abducted Children: National Estimates and Characteristics.
Finkelhor, D., Hammer, H., and Sedlak, A.J. (2002).

This Bulletin presents results from the initial analysis of nonfamily abduction data collected by NISMART-2. Among the key findings of the study are:

National Estimates of Missing Children: An Overview.
Sedlak, A.J., Finkelhor, D., Hammer, H., and Schultz, D.J. (2002).

This Bulletin describes the NISMART-2 efforts to come to an estimate of the number of missing children in the United States.