The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is the nation’s primary resource on the issues of missing and sexual exploited children by providing information and resources to law enforcement, parents, and children — including child victims as well as other professionals.
The mission of the 30-year-old 501(c)3 nonprofit organization is:
1. To help prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation;
2. To help find missing children; and
3. To assist victims of child abduction and sexual exploitation, their families, and the professionals who serve them.
The Alexandria, Virginia-based NCMEC has regional offices in California, Florida, New York, and Texas. Support from the Pickens Foundation made the Austin-based Texas Regional Office possible. The office provides training to law enforcement and prosecutors with an emphasis on Internet-related crimes against children. Case managers are also located in Austin who assist state and local law enforcement in the region with difficult missing children cases. The office also works with local government and other organizations in prevention and education programs to educate the community about child safety.
“Working to help those least likely to be able to protect themselves is a noble and essential effort,” Pickens says. “The Foundation is proud to support NCMEC.”
NCMEC and the Texas Regional Office focus on two specific issues related to child safety: missing children and child sexual exploitation.
“The Texas Regional Office is home to three case managers who handle missing child cases from all over the U.S.,” executive director David L. Boatright says. “At any given moment, there are multiple active cases in our office, and it is these three professionals who do all that is possible to bring children home safety, regardless of the state in which they reside.”
Texas has nearly seven million children under the age of 18. The chilling facts that follow that number: Texas has about 68,529 registered sex offenders; in 2011, 47,313 Texas children were reported missing to law enforcement; and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has nearly 1,000 convicts currently serving prison time for child exploitation related crimes. In 2011, NCMEC provided 3,851 CyberTipline reports of child sexual exploitation to Texas law enforcement for investigation, and initiated nearly 600 cases involving missing children.
“These disturbing statistics make the need for the prevention, education, and training efforts all the more important as we continually work to all our children safer,” Boatright says
For additional information, please visit http://tx.missingkids.com