Missing children in the United States are a major problem, but it can be prevented. The majority of abductions of children in the United States are by their parents. Within every hour, more than 200 children, including teenagers, are reported missing, and most of the children will most likely be teenage runaways who will eventually be found. Teenage runaways are usually rejected by their parents and friends. Even though most children are runaways, those who are abducted by strangers range from twenty-five thousand to five hundred thousand (Strickland,
Margaret, 1983). An estimated one hundred thousand children ranging from 3 years to 11 years in this country are victims of parental kidnapping. Usually those kidnapped are from the legal custodial spouse whose spouses are extremely dissatisfied with a custodial arrangement. The search efforts of missing children in the United States needs to be more advanced. When a child is kidnapped, it is usually impossible to present tangible evidence of danger or abuse, yet we know that any child who disappears from home faces dangers.
This is particularly true of parental kidnapping cases, which are often motivated by revenge instead of love. Parents that lose their children in parental abductions usually have three chances in ten of ever finding them. Most parents feel that if authorities would not wait a certain amount of time to determine whether or not the child is a runaway, locating a missing child would be much easier and less frightening to the parents of the missing child.
There are many federal laws in the United States concerning missing children. By loosening restrictions on the Parental Kidnapping Act, more parental kidnappers are returning missing children. There are four ways federal laws help locate missing children: broadcasting, pictures, fliers, and reward systems with no questions asked. There are two important people who help in missing children cases.
The first is the prosecutor whose role will reach far beyond the ordinary review of cases brought to him or her by the police. The second is one if not both of the parents. The victimized parent has to bear the responsibility for gathering information, pursuing leads to establish the location of an absconding parent and victimized child; they are required to gather all personal information referred to herein and will be required to establish contact with friends and family of the perpetrator.
Therefore, as one might assume, the federal government helps as much as they can, but leaves ample work for the parent. Parental kidnapping cannot be categorically dismissed as a “domestic dispute. ” Hopefully, in the future people will understand and deal with parental and stranger abductions and understand how the federal law works. To steal a child is not an act of love; it is an act of selfishness.