Missing Children


One of every parent’s worst fears is that their child goes missing. The thought of not knowing where their child is, who they are with, what has happened to them, and if they are safe, is a haunting thought that never gives a parent rest until their child is home safe. School districts must take certain steps when a child is reported missing, and must also provide instruction designed to prevent the abduction of children to ensure missing children are recovered as quickly as possible.


A school that has been notified by the Division of Criminal Justice Services (CJS) in the statewide register for missing children that a child currently or previously enrolled in one of its schools has been reported as missing, it must take specific steps:


  • They must flag the school records of that child (in a manner that alerts a person authorized to provide access to such records that the child has been reported as missing). They must also remove the flag once the child has been recovered (upon notice from the CJS).
  • They must immediately report to local law enforcement and CJS any requests concerning such records or knowledge as to the whereabouts of any missing child (§3222).
  • They must immediately notify CJS if they discover that the child is currently enrolled in their school (§3222).


The commissioner of the CJS is required to regularly give the NYS Education Department (SED) a bulletin with information about the children listed in the statewide register for missing children. SED, in turn, forwards that bulletin to every public and private school where parents, guardians, and others legally responsible for such missing children, have given consent (Exec. Law § 837-f(10); Exec. Law § 837-e).


In addition to cooperating with local authorities, and national systems like the CJS, schools must also provide instruction to prevent the abduction of children. All students from kindergarten to eighth grade must receive instruction designed to prevent child abduction. This instruction must be provided by, or at least taught under the supervision of a regular classroom teacher. Instruction may also be provided by another public or private agency (§ 803-a). Also, school districts must provide the appropriate training, and curriculum materials for teachers who provide instruction to prevent child abduction (§ 803-a).


Though there is no state curriculum for abduction prevention courses, schools take the necessary steps to provide adequate council to children to prevent child abduction. In addition, schools also take necessary steps when a child is reported missing, to do their part to ensure the child is recovered as quickly as possible. 



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Angel A. Castro, III, Esq.

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New York, NY




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Serving in the Federal District Courts, Second Circuit Court of Appeals, New York Supreme Courts in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau, Westchester, Broome and Onondaga Counties, as well as the Appellate Division First, Second, Third, & Fourth Departments for Complex Litigation, Appeals, & Negotiation.


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