|THE MISSING CHILDREN’S NETWORK MARKS ITS 20th ANNIVERSARY AND ANNOUNCES ITS ANNUAL PREVENTION CAMPAIGN|
MONTREAL, October 12, 2005— The Missing Children’s Network, which is marking its 20th anniversary this year, announced today its annual prevention campaign for child safety. Again this year, the Network is offering numerous programs, tools and essential safety advice for Quebec families and children with the goal of preventing disappearances.
"On our 20th anniversary, it’s especially important that we continue to develop our prevention programs such as Child ID Day," said Pina Arcamone, General Director of the Missing Children’s Network. "This activity is the main thrust of our awareness campaign. We’re pleased to be able to rely on McDonald’s Restaurants and its franchisees throughout Quebec again this year. Our dedicated partner provides us with access to a provincial network, so we can reach families everywhere in Quebec. Our goal is simple: make people aware of the importance of having an up-to-date identification booklet."
Police departments recognize the importance of the booklet, and especially the importance of keeping the information current. "The first minutes following a child’s disappearance are crucial," said Linda Brosseau of the RCMP, who coordinates the "Our Missing Children" program. "An up-to-date booklet can make all the difference. Child ID Day allows us to reach thousands of families and children so that we can provide them with advice and stress the importance of discussing the topic at home."
On October 16, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., at the 170 or so participating McDonald’s Restaurants, children accompanied by an adult will receive a free identification booklet and practical safety tips. The booklets are designed to help parents and police in the event a child is uncharacteristically late or has disappeared. They contain all the information needed to find a missing child. This activity is supported by the RCMP, Sûreté du Québec, the City of Montreal police department, participating municipal police departments, Canada Border Services Agency, and local and government agencies.
Child ID Day is just as important for teens. The identification booklet must always contain a recent photo, a physical description and a list of friends and people to contact in case the teen is uncharacteristically late or has disappeared. Updating the booklet, which is just as important as the information it contains, should be done at least twice a year for children under the age of six and at least once a year for those aged six to 12.
The Missing Children’s Network annual campaign consists of several activities, including workshops on prevention in schools and summer camps in and around Montreal, seminars on prevention for families, educational tools for children and Child ID Day.
A few recent statistics
The survey found that about half of Montreal-area parents say they have an up-to-date booklet for their child. "We’re pleased that parents have understood the importance of the booklet. However, the survey and statistics show that parents don’t always realize that runaways account for the majority of missing children. It is therefore all the more essential that we continue our awareness-raising efforts," added Ms. Arcamone.
The Missing Children’s Network was created in 1985 by two Montreal women who were shocked by the kidnapping and murder of a four-year-old boy in the Montreal region. Their enthusiasm, courage and unprecedented success with many cases of children reported missing have progressively earned them the respect of authorities, support from numerous volunteers and benefactors and a number of awards. Over the years, a solid organization has taken shape. Today, it focuses its efforts on three major areas: research, prevention and awareness-raising.
About the Missing Children’s Network
Michael J. Cohen