May 25, 2005
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT JOINS WITH NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN TO HELP FIND MISSING CHILDREN
WASHINGTON - The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) have joined forces to launch OperationFind HUDkids, an initiative to identify and locate missing children that live in HUD-assisted housing.
"As we mark the 22nd year of National Missing Children's Day, we are proud of this partnership that's providing new leads for law enforcement officials," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. "Finding just one missing child and reuniting that child with their loved-ones is worth the effort that goes into this important initiative."
Jackson lauded the efforts of HUD's Office of Inspector General (OIG) in conceiving initiatives that can literally change lives.
"After joining the Federal Agency Task Force for Missing & Exploited Children, we put our heads together and thought about how we could help NCMEC with their cold-case files using data available to us," said HUD Inspector General Kenneth M. Donohue. "What we've developed is a low-impact procedure we hope will lead to the whereabouts of these kids."
Operation Find HUDkids, initiated by the OIG, is an effort to find missing children identified by NCMEC and law enforcement. OIG estimates that there are approximately 3.88 million children living in HUD-assisted housing nationwide. Against this list, OIG identified active NCMEC missing children cases on children living in HUD-assisted housing nationwide with the hope that missing children could be identified. OIG Special Agents are receiving and processing investigative leads on these missing children and actively assisting state and local law enforcement agencies and NCMEC to solve these cases.
"Our ability to successfully reunite missing children with their families is a direct result of strategic partnerships like this one with HUD," said Ernie Allen, NCMEC President and CEO. "Operation Find HUDkids" is a unique opportunity to pool resources and generate new leads that will aid law enforcement in recovering missing children."
On a daily basis, NCMEC reports it has an average of 4,000 active missing children cases in its database. OIG now receives and compares NCMEC's missing children with data available to HUD. When a lead is developed, OIG Special Agents work closely with law enforcement offices at all levels - federal, state and local - to help solve the missing child case. Using HUD's database is a new tool in efforts to solve open missing children cases. NCMEC missing children case types include runaways, family and non-family abductions. OIG is hopeful of finding some runaways and family abductions.
The Federal Agency Task Force for Missing & Exploited Children was created in May 1995 to identify gaps and overlaps in federal resources and services for missing and exploited children and their families. The task force and NCMEC address broad coordination and policy issues and seek to improve communication among federal agencies.
NCMEC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. NCMEC's congressionally mandated CyberTipline, a reporting mechanism for child sexual exploitation, has handled more than 313,000 leads. Since its establishment in 1984, NCMEC has assisted law enforcement with more than 106,000 missing child cases, resulting in the recovery of more than 92,000 children. For more information about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit its website at www.missingkids.com.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.