The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014
Enacted in September 2014, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act mandates that State agencies “report immediately, and in no case later than 24 hours” information about each missing or abducted child both to law enforcement and to NCMEC. 42 U.S.C. § 671(a)(35)(B)child both to law enforcement and to NCMEC. 42 U.S.C. § 671(a)(35)(B).
The Bringing Missing Children Home Act
This is a portion of the larger Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015, that was enacted in May 2015. Among other improvements related to record-keeping, this legislation amended federal law to ensure that law enforcement agencies respond appropriately and coordinate with NCMEC and social service agencies when a child goes missing from foster care. 34 U.S.C. § 41308.
Other Relevant Federal Laws
Federal law defines a “missing child’ as any individual less than 18 years of age whose whereabouts are unknown to the child’s parent or legal guardian. 34 U.S.C. § 11292. It is important to note this includes children who have gone missing for any reason at all. In some jurisdictions, state law expands on the broad federal definition and provides further statutory guidance on how agencies should treat missing child cases in their state.
Existing federal law requires law enforcement agencies to respond in a specific way, regardless of the reason why a child is missing. Law enforcement agencies are prohibited from establishing or maintaining a waiting period before accepting a missing child report, and must promptly enter information regarding a missing child into the NCIC system within two hours of receiving a report. 34 U.S.C. § 41308.
A provision of the PROTECT Act of 2003 and codified at 34 U.S.C. § 41307(a), this law extended the same reporting and investigative procedures already provided for children younger than 18 to individuals under the age of 21.
Savanna’s Act (25 U.S.C. § 5701 et seq.) improves the response to missing or murdered Native Americans by increasing coordination among Federal, State, and Tribal agencies, expanding data collection, as well as providing additional grants and resources dedicated to reducing further tragedies.