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What to do if your child disappears

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Information from the Klaas Kids Foundation

Many Missing Child Websites warehouse flyers of the missing: descriptive text surrounding haunted little faces that stare imploringly into a future that might never arrive. If you seek this kind of information or need to create a missing child flyer log onto our sister website Beyond Missing. The ideas and strategies laid forth in this workbook are for the extreme cases where it is confirmed or highly likely that a predatory abduction has occurred or there is evidence that the child is in immediate danger of serious bodily harm or death.

The days when a kidnapped child's family sat passively waiting for a ransom demand are simply the unwelcome memory of failed policy. If your child is missing and you just don't know where to turn or what to do, empower yourself to engage the battle as if it were a matter of life and death. Unfortunately, those may very well be the stakes when predators kidnap children in 21st Century America.

If your child is disappearing at the rate of one mile per minute, you must move forward quickly and decisively. Pursuing a holistic approach that encompasses the missing child's family, law enforcement, media and volunteer services with the common goal of recovering the kidnapped child encourages cooperation and teamwork and may represent your best chance for success.

There is nothing fair about the task that faces you: your child has been kidnapped and needs you more now than ever before. You are entering a frightening emotional and logistical minefield for which you are ill prepared. As tempting as it might seem, escaping from reality is not an option. You have to stay sharp and focused so that you don't make critical mistakes and that means refraining from alcohol or mind-altering drugs until your child is recovered.

To assist you in successfully maneuvering the minefield we have provided a recovery template outlining and explaining critical elements of a kidnap recovery effort and strategies that promote inter-agency cooperation and encourage community involvement. Because you have so little time to assimilate this critical information we are presenting best-case scenarios, assuming that you and your family are strong and committed, an adequate volunteer base exists and law enforcement and media are willing to work with you. If your situation differs, you will have to modify your approach and make the appropriate adjustments.

Remember never give up hope! As long as you believe that your child is alive and coming home, you will have support, but if you admit defeat your allies will disperse, law enforcement will dissipate and your chances of securing a recovery will effectively disappear.