Governor Kitzhaber joins child safety advocates around the country by signing proclamation announcing May 25, 2014 as "Missing Children's Awareness Day" in Oregon
Photograph link valid at least 30 days (Left to right: Sgt. Steve Payne, Sierra Cargil & father, Lt. Rob Edwards)
A 5th grader at Oakridge Elementary School received a surprise Wednesday when the Oregon State Police (OSP) Missing Children's Clearinghouse announced her poster was selected to represent Oregon in the national Missing Children's Day Poster Contest. In addition to a pizza party held for her and about 30 classmates, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber sent a letter congratulating her on the winning poster and for helping to raise awareness about child safety.
On May 21, 2014, OSP Missing Children's Clearinghouse Program Analyst Julie Willard announced that SIERRA CARGIL’s winning poster was selected to represent Oregon and had been sent to the Department of Justice for national judging and selection with posters submitted from around the country. The Missing Children's Day Poster Contest is an annual event for fifth grade students providing an opportunity for schools, law enforcement, and other community organizations to engage children and their parents in discussions about child safety.
In a letter presented to Sierra, Governor Kitzhaber stressed that raising awareness of missing and at-risk youth in Oregon is an important first step to keeping kids safe.
“Your poster helps spread the word about this serious issue. I commend you for doing your part to ensure that people and communities across the state are part of the solution,” wrote Kitzhaber.
Governor Kitzhaber also joined child safety advocates around the country by signing a proclamation announcing May 25, 2014 as "Missing Children's Awareness Day" in Oregon. During the month of May, families around the country are encouraged to take 25 minutes to talk to their children about safety and abduction prevention as part of the Take 25 (www.Take25.org) national child safety campaign. A list of 25 safety tips for parents that can help save a child's life is included with this news release.
May 25 has been observed as National Missing Children's Day since it was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. This date is the anniversary of the day in 1979 when 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from a New York street corner on his way to school; a story that captivated the nation. Etan's photo, taken by his father, was circulated nationwide and appeared in media across the country and around the world. This powerful image has come to symbolize the anguish and trauma of thousands of searching families.
As of April 2014, Oregon's Law Enforcement Data System (LEDS) records contained information regarding 467 kids under the age of 18 listed as missing in LEDS/NCIC. Over 87% of the listed missing children are runaways. The remaining listed children are missing under circumstances indicating his/her physical safety may be in danger or their disappearance was not voluntary.
According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), every year in America, an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing, more than 2,000 children each day. Of that number, 200,000 are abducted by family members and 58,000 are abducted by non-family members, for which the primary motive is sexual. Each year, 115 children are the victims of the most serious abductions; they are taken by non-family members and either murdered, ransomed or taken with the intent to keep.
An analysis of attempted abduction cases by NCMEC found that in 81 percent of the cases, the child escaped would-be abductors through their own actions. Twenty-eight percent actively resisted (yelling, kicking, pulling away, running away or attracting attention) while 53% recognized something was not right and responded by walking or running away.
"Spend time with your kids, set appropriate limits, and help them make good choices. It is important to take the time to talk to your children about safety." said Willard.
During the most serious incidents when a child is abducted, Oregon's AMBER Alert program is a critical missing child response program utilizing the resources of law enforcement and media to engage the public's help to find a child as quickly as possible. Information about Oregon's AMBER Alert program is available on the OSP website at http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/AMBERALERT/index.shtml.
On January 1, 2013 the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) Program replaced the Wireless AMBER Alert Program to help distribute AMBER Alerts throughout the country. Also known as Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) or Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN), WEA is a national emergency alert system that sends text-like messages to users' WEA-capable mobile devices. The program may send out cellphone alerts in the form of sounds and beeps when an AMBER Alert is issued in an area of activated cell towers.
The Missing Children's Day Poster Contest is promoted in Oregon by the OSP Missing Children's Clearinghouse. Fifth grade teachers interested in participating in next year's contest can contact Julie Willard at (503) 934-0188 or Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view this year's winning entries submitted from 48 states, 4 territories, one military base and the District of Columbia go to http://mecptraining.org/2014contest/