Missing Children

The Ohio Missing Children Clearinghouse helps law enforcement agencies search for runaways and lost or abducted children. Its toll-free hotline number, 1-800-325-5604, provides nationwide access around the clock.

Names and pictures of missing children can be found on the Ohio Attorney General's website or on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website. In Ohio alone, more than 2,800 children are missing.

Guidelines to Follow Should Your Child Be Missing

Keep a complete written description of your child. Your description should include color of hair and eyes, weight, height, and date of birth. It should also list other ways to identify the child. Note things like eyeglasses, braces, contact lenses, and pierced ears or other unique physical attributes.

Take color photographs of your child every 6 months. Photos should be of high quality and in sharp focus so the child is easily recognizable. Head and shoulder portraits from different angles are preferable.

Have your dentist prepare dental charts for your child, and be sure they are updated each time an examination or dental work is performed. Make sure your dentist keeps accurate, up-to-date dental charts and x-rays on your child. If you move, get a copy of the records to keep yourself until you find a new dentist.

Know where your child's medical records are located and how you can obtain them if needed. Medical records, especially x-rays, can be invaluable in helping to identify a recovered child. It's important to have all permanent scars, birthmarks, blemishes, and broken bones recorded.

Have your child fingerprinted by your local police department. In order for fingerprints to be useful in identifying someone, they must be properly taken. Your police department has trained personnel who can do this.

If Your Child Goes Missing

If your child is missing, it's critical that you call the police immediately. If your child disappears when you're away from home on a shopping trip, for example, notify the manager of the store or the security officer and ask for assistance in finding your child. Then call the police. Also, ask them if your child will be entered into the National Crime Information Center Missing Persons File. This ensures that any law enforcement agency in the country will be able to identify your child if he or she is found in another community.