Missing Children’s Month: Help in the search
May is Missing Children’s Month, a time we are asked to think about lost and exploited children, celebrate those who have been found, and stand with families who continue a brave search for missing loved ones.
And while we remain overwhelmed by a health pandemic that has lasted more than a year, we can’t forget that vulnerable children and youth are at greater risk than ever before.
Coronavirus quarantine measures that restrict daily routines, such as school and daycare closures, disrupt children's habits and social supports. They place increased stress on parents and caregivers and put children and youth, whose screen time is increased, at risk of falling prey to online predators eager to pose as their friends.
And as COVID-19 response is stretching the resources of first responders, such as police, the Missing Children Society of Canada (MCSC) will be called upon to serve those children who face acute risk and trauma.
MCSC uniquely supports police with its Child Search Network, by increasing their resources, capacity, and scale, giving them a 24-hour ability to engage the community in the search for a missing child.
In 2020, there were 31,948 cases of missing children registered by police across Canada. The majority of those cases, 72 percent, were classified as runaways and 60 percent of all the missing children/youth cases involved females.
Police have told MCSC they need to engage the community in their search for these missing children. And they want everyone's help now as they work to protect youth from increased dangers on the street.
You can help MCSC and police by joining the Child Search Network and downloading its key component, the MCSC rescu app, which is available for Android and Apple devices. It can also be downloaded as a web app at: rescu.mcsc.ca.
Rescu is updated continually with information from police across Canada and members of the public can submit tips directly through the app. Users can also view cases by region and opt-in to receive SMS alerts to their phones, specific to a selected location.
The Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police has endorsed the Child Search Network as a critical alert system, second only to AMBER Alert.
And while police services are encouraged to use the system, its ultimate success rests on public engagement.
Please download the MCSC rescu app. Ask your friends and family to download it. Start a community challenge. Become a corporate leader. Challenge other companies to get involved. Follow MCSC on Facebook and Twitter. Make a critical impact to MCSC by donating funds.
The Missing Children Society of Canada believes one missing child is one too many. Join us and keep children safe.