Missing Children: Efforts to Locate

Imagine if your child, mother, dog/cat- anyone who is important to you- went missing. How diligently would you try to locate them when it is someone close to you? When trying to locate our children that we serve who have runaway or gone missing, we must use the same (or more) diligence to locate them. There are many hostile and dangerous environments on the streets or with a parent who has absconded with a child and time is of the essence when making diligent efforts to locate the child and bring that child back into a safe environment. We are the life supports for the children we serve and child safety is our number one priority.

Case managers are required to make diligent and ongoing efforts to locate missing children within specific time during the period of time that they are missing. The first attempt must be completed within the first 24 hours of the child being reported missing. After the 24 hour time frame has elapsed, the Case Manager must make at least one attempt to locate the child every 7 days until the child is recovered.

Examples of Efforts to Locate the Child (this list is by all means not all-inclusive and are only examples of various avenues to explore in attempting to locate a child):

  • Contacting the child’s parents and other relatives

  • Contacting the child’s cell phone

  • Contacting the child’s school

  • Contacting the child’s place of employment

  • Contacting the child’s friends  

  • Contacting the child’s therapist or other service providers

  • Contacting former placements

  • Contacting the child’s JPO or DJJ worker

  • Contacting Hospitals

  • Check locations that the child has been known to frequent

  • Check activity on the child’s social media sites (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc)

In addition to completing efforts to locate, the Case Manager must also maintain contact with the Law Enforcement entity assigned. Although this communication is required, it is not to be used as an “effort to locate.” The Case Manager should provide Law Enforcement with any additional information that may be useful in locating the child, as well as any updates regarding the efforts that the Case Manager has made to locate the child.

Please remember that documentation of these efforts to locate and communication with Law Enforcement should be entered into FSFN within 48 hours.