The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC), in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office will be observing National Missing Children’s Day this year by participating in the national Take 25 child safety campaign.

May 25 has been observed as National Missing Children’s Day since it was first recognized in 1983. National Missing Children’s Day serves as an annual reminder that there are thousands of children who are still missing and stresses the importance of making child protection a national priority. The Take 25 campaign is a national child safety public awareness campaign created in 2007 by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The campaign encourages parents to take 25 minutes to talk to their children about safety and ways to prevent abduction. The campaign begins on May 1 and continues through May 25 every year in communities throughout the country.

“Every day we hear stories about children who escaped a would-be-abductor because someone talked to them about what they should do in that type of situation”, said CEO John Ryan. “Education and open communication are key to keeping children safer. Take 25 minutes and talk to your child.”

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said, “Children are our community’s most valuable resource. As such, it’s imperative that we protect our young people by teaching them how they can protect themselves in a world where, sadly, people exist who can harm them.”

Every year in America, an estimated 800,000 children are reported missing, more than approximately 2,000 each day. Of that number, it is estimated that 200,000 are abducted by family members and approximately 58,000 are abducted by non-family members. Each year, it is estimated that 115 children are the victims of the most serious abductions; they are taken by non-family members and either murdered, ransomed or taken with the intent to keep.

An analysis of attempted abduction cases by NCMEC found that in 84% of cases, the child escaped would-be abductors through their own actions. Teaching children about safety works. It saves lives.

In 2011, according to the California Department of Justice, there were more than 958 reports of missing children in Santa Barbara County. Of that number, 908 were reported runaways, 17 were reported lost, 12 were reported family abductions, 5 were suspicious circumstances and 25 were unknown circumstances. In the state of California, more than 90 thousand children were reported missing in 2011 and of that number, 981 were abductions by family members and 25 were stranger abductions, 216 were lost children and 36 children were found deceased.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is providing to the schools within our jurisdiction, a flyer from the NCMEC with 25 important safety tips for children. We are attaching the flyer to our press release as well. It is also available to view on our website at or our facebook page.

About the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children:

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1984. It is the leading nonprofit organization that deals with the issues of missing children and sexual exploitation of children. It operates the national toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST, as well as the CyberTipline which is the national system for reporting suspected sexual exploitation of children. To learn more about NCMEC or to make a donation, visit or call 1-800-THE-LOST.


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