Governor Pat Quinn, along with the Illinois State Police and Department of Children and Family Services, joined families throughout Illinois in observing May 25 as Missing Children’s Day in Illinois. The day provides an opportunity to celebrate the progress Illinois has made in safeguarding children and the return of those missing children who have found their way home. It is also a time to remember those who were less fortunate or have been victimized, and continue efforts to find those that are still missing.
“I cannot imagine a pain much worse than that of a family whose child goes missing,” said Governor Quinn. “I urge all citizens to learn how they can help protect children and reunite missing children with their loved ones.” May 25 is the anniversary of when 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from a New York street corner on his way to school in 1979. President Ronald Reagan first proclaimed National Missing Children’s Day in 1983, and it has continued to be a day of observance ever since. In the past year, Illinois has reduced the number of reported missing children by more than nine percent. Of the 32,163 reported missing in 2009, roughly 97 percent were quickly located and returned safely home.
“The safety of all missing children, whether abducted or a runaway, is of critical concern to our agency," said Illinois State Police Acting Director Jonathon Monken. “Let today serve as a reminder to parents and guardians to always have up-to-date photos of your children. And to all citizens, take notice when you see a photo of a missing child. Your attentiveness could lead to a happy ending for a family.”
"Every young life is precious," said DCFS Spokesman Kendall Marlowe. "We urge the public to report missing children promptly and to work with law enforcement to bring each and every child safely home."
Illinois, in a partnership with Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Ohio, is active in the Interstate Agreement on Missing and Exploited Children. The agreement was established in 1985 as a network to improve identifying and recovering missing children. The Council is comprised of representatives of state law enforcement and criminal justice agencies from each of these states and meets semi-annually.
In observance of Missing Children’s Day in Illinois, citizens are encouraged to take part by turning on porch lights and vehicle headlights to “Light the Way Home” for our missing children.
The text of the Governor’s Proclamation is as follows:
WHEREAS, The Missing Children Act of 1982 was the first federal law to address this issue, and in 1983, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Missing Children’s Day; and
WHEREAS, May 25 has annually been declared National Missing Children’s Day; and
WHEREAS, there are 1,520 pending missing children under the age of 18 in the state of Illinois, which represents only a small percentage of children that are estimated to be missing nationwide as reported through a national study conducted by the United States Department of Justice; and
WHEREAS, locating and safely returning missing children to their homes is a statewide, national, and international objective; and
WHEREAS, on August 29, 1985 in Chicago, Illinois, Governors from the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin signed the “Interstate Agreement on Missing and Exploited Children,” and since then, the states of Ohio, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska have also joined in the initiative. This agreement was the beginning of the development of an interstate network established to improve the process of identifying and recovering missing children in our communities; and
WHEREAS, in 2002, the Illinois State Police implemented the America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) Alert Notification Plan. AMBER Alert was developed as a quick and efficient way to notify the public and city, town, village, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in Illinois, of specific information regarding the abduction of a child whose life may be in danger. To date, AMBER Alert has been instrumental in recovering 36 Illinois missing children; and
WHEREAS, teaching your children to run away from danger, never letting your children go places alone, knowing where and with whom your children are at all times, talking openly with your children about safety and having a list of family members who can be contacted in case of an emergency, are among the list of preventative tips that will help keep your children safe from kidnapping and abductions:
THEREFORE, I, Pat Quinn, Governor of the state of Illinois, do hereby proclaim May 25, 2010 as MISSING CHILDREN’S DAY in Illinois, and encourage all citizens to observe this day by turning on