The Kentucky Missing and Exploited Children Unit was organized in 1984 to create a centralized clearinghouse to assist law enforcement agencies to locate and return missing children to their homes. The Unit's mission is to disseminate information, provide technical assistance in the investigation of such cases, and offer training for the investigation of missing person cases. It also acts as a liaison between the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and agencies within Kentucky.
This page is designed to provide safety tips to parents, give direction for those whose child is missing, and
offer links to the web site of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. This origination provides a centralized clearinghouse for data on missing children.
Often, it is difficult to distinguish trouble signs with the usual adolescent turmoil. But when real problems are in the making, the signs usually come in clusters. Observance of these signs should cause concern - rather than undue alarm:
Sleep Changes - fatigue, early morning wakening, insomnia, or increased sleeping.
Personality Changes - apathy, boredom, irritability, preoccupation with a single thought, abrupt mood swings, excessive blowups triggered by small things, use of alcohol and/or other drugs.
Withdrawal From Family - growing isolation, avoidance of family gatherings - even at meals, and increased violation of house rules.
School Problems - cutting classes, truancy, falling grades, apathy, fights and other disciplinary problems.
Withdrawal From Friends - fallouts with friends, hostility toward former friends, new (often older) friends, reluctance to introduce parents to new friends.
Overreaction To Family - prolonged reaction to loss or stress from death,
divorce, illness, loss of job, or change of residence.
Trust Your Feelings - parents often have "gut feelings" when something is wrong.
Trust these feelings and watch for these signs.
It is very important for parents to remain calm and rational when they discover that their child has run away. Do not panic or lose sight of the immediate task at hand - to locate the runaway and return him or her safely to home.
The first 48 hours are the most important in locating the child. Many runaways return home during this two-day period. To help locate your runaway child, follow these steps immediately:
Check with your child's friends, school, neighbors, relatives, or anyone else who may know of your child's whereabouts. Ask them to notify you if they hear from the child.
Contact the local police. Provide a complete description of the child, birth
date, school and grade, medical and dental records or doctors' names. Include circumstances surrounding the disappearance and the complete name and description of the abductor and vehicle used, if known. Provide the police with a recent photo of your child.
Record the name and badge number of the officer who takes the report. Find out who will follow up the initial investigation. Also, be sure to request the case number of the missing persons report.
Remember: Keep a notebook and record all information on the investigation.
Ask that all data regarding the missing child be entered into the Law Information Network of Kentucky (LINK) computer, National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer, and the Kentucky Missing and Exploited Children Unit.
Double check to make sure that the Kentucky Missing and Exploited Children Unit receives a KSP 261 Missing Persons Report and a current photo so that a flyer can be distributed statewide and to surrounding states.
Wait 24 hours and then check with the police to determine that the information has been entered. Ask to receive a copy of the printout, if desired. If the information has not been entered into the LINK and NCIC
computers, then contact the Kentucky Missing and Exploited Children Unit and
sign an affidavit that the local agency is in noncompliance with the law.
Request that you be kept informed on a regular basis of the status of the
When your child returns home, make sure to show love and concern for his or her safety - NOT anger or fear. If you react angrily, your child may feel unwanted and unloved and may run away again as soon as possible.
Please make sure that your child understands that you care about what happens to him or her. Promptly notify police and anyone else who may have assisted you.
If your child has been away for an extended period of time, a complete medical examination is recommended when he or she returns home, including tests for sexually transmitted diseases.
Most importantly, try to resolve the problems in your family that prompted your child to leave home in the first place. In general, children run away because of problems or stresses in the family or at home - such as divorce, remarriage, alcoholism and other drug abuse, and physical or sexual abuse.
If you are unable to deal with the family problems effectively, seek the assistance of a trained counselor or professional. Parents can contact the local Department of Social Services, Family Services, or other public or private agencies that help families.
Members of the clergy, school personnel, or the law enforcement community can also direct you to available services and resources. It may be necessary for your child to go to a temporary residence or runaway shelter while the family works toward resolving its problems. A trained counselor can help you make this decision.