There are many different circumstances under which your child may be missing.

"Missing" means that your child is unaccounted for or not where they are supposed to be. How they came to this status can include:

  • Runaway
  • Abduction
  • Parental kidnapping
  • Lost, injured or other

If your child goes missing:

There are steps you should take which will help facilitate your child's recovery.

  • Immediately report the missing child to the local police
  • Report child to local social services if already actively receiving services
  • Ensure your child's information is posted to Massachusetts Missing Children Clearinghouse (MMCC) and and/or National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) website

Other considerations :

  • Keep a log of who you speak with (eg. names, phone numbers, information etc.)
  • Document any/all information you can remember about your last encounter with the child (see intake form)
    • what the child was wearing
    • what the child said
    • what items/possessions the child took with them
    • what form of identification they have if any
  • Document known friends' names, phone numbers, addresses, etc.
  • Provide a recent photo to law enforcement
  • Identify and provide any key documents or records such as school records, medical records, etc.
  • If the computer may contain information relating to the child's disappearance, leave the computer untouched and notify the police
  • Compile a list of all service providers involved with the child (eg probation, caseworkers, school counselor, medical provider etc)
  • Document the assigned NCIC number in case it's needed for future reference
  • Consider filing a Child in Need of Services (CHINS) warrant if applicable

When reporting to law enforcement, the circumstances of the child's disappearance may impact the police response but does NOT preclude you from filing the missing persons report.

There is NO waiting period when filing a missing persons report. Your report can be made over the phone but will require an in-person report at the police department of jurisdiction within 24 to 48 hours.

When you report your child missing to the police, the police department of jurisdiction should make an immediate National Crime Information Center (NCIC) entry. This entry results in alerting any law enforcement agency who queries your child by name of their "missing" status.

Take time to review and/ or complete the intake form. This will expedite the process for the police and prepare you for the types of information and questions you may be asked. The process of having your child posted to the MMCC is best accomplished through your local police department or you can contact the MMCC directly. If you choose to have your child's picture and descriptive information posted to the MMCC website and/or the NCMEC website, please sign the release of information section of the intake form.

If your child is involved with a state or vendor social service agency be sure to notify the state agency caseworker or 24-hour hotline immediately after filing your report with the local police. Inform the child care worker that you have filed a missing person report to law enforcement and provide the worker with the investigating officer's name and police department.

When your child is located:

  • Promptly notify the police, the MMCC, or any agency that was assisting you in locating your child.
  • If your child has been away for an extended period of time, it is recommended that your child receive a complete medical evaluation