the national child protection task force

The ncptf does not work one-on-one with families

Instead, we support investigators directly.
Want to know more about why our task force doesn’t work directly with families?

Here, you’ll find practical advice to empower you during this difficult time.

I can only begin to imagine the depth of your worry and pain at this time. My heart goes out to you. While the NCPTF doesn’t work directly with families, we provide free assistance to law enforcement. The reason for this is that we want to help police bring missing kids home. We do not conduct investigations independent of law enforcement, rather, we work alongside them. 

I had a 29 year career in law enforcement prior to founding the NCPTF. I have worked with many families and I understand that when a child goes missing it can be hard to think straight. I would love to take this opportunity to offer some practical reminders to help you advocate well for your family member while working with law enforcement. 

Taking the step to file a missing person’s report is crucial. To prepare for this, gather all the facts: when and where your child was last seen, any particular circumstances that might be relevant, a list of friends and relatives who might have insights into your child’s whereabouts, and any other details that come to mind.

When you speak with the police, it is vital to be as open as possible. Now is not the time to withhold information, no matter how sensitive or potentially embarrassing. Every detail you share could be the key to finding your child.

I must share something about us police officers… We aren’t always the best at showing empathy and we might come across as distant, or even cold. Please understand this doesn’t reflect on our commitment to your family member’s case or our concern for the child. It’s more about our approach to doing this job well, which admittedly, can lack the warmth you deserve in such moments. Asking us to consider “What if it were your own child?” can help bridge that emotional gap and will hopefully invite a more compassionate response.

And after you meet with the police, please inform them about the NCPTF and our readiness to offer free support on their investigation. Our goal is to ensure they have every resource necessary to bring your child home safely. We work with police all over the country and there is never a charge for our services.

And last but certainly not least, it is important to understand that you need support through this. Reach out to trusted family, friends, and even support organizations like the one listed below. You are not alone. I truly hope the best for your family member, and for you during this tremendously hard time.

Sending heartfelt empathy and support,

Kevin Branzetti
Chief Executive Officer | National Child Protection Task Force 

 

What to do if your child is missing

Report to law enforcement

Immediately call 911.

report to ncmec

After you have reported your child missing to law enforcement, call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678).

when you can't find your child in your home

If your child is missing from home, search through:

  • Closets
  • Piles of laundry
  • In and under beds
  • Inside large appliances
  • Vehicles – including trunks
  • Anywhere else that a child may crawl or hide
 

when you can't find your child in a store

Notify the store manager or security office if your child cannot be found when in a store. Then immediately call your local law enforcement agency. Many stores have a Code Adam plan of action in place.

When you call law enforcement

Provide law enforcement with your child’s name, date of birth, height, weight, and descriptions of any other unique identifiers such as eyeglasses and braces. Tell them when you noticed your child was missing and what clothing he or she was wearing.

Request law enforcement authorities immediately enter your child’s name and identifying information into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center Missing Person File.

What to expect next

Dealing with the Police

  1. Openly Spell Out Any Extenuating Circumstances: Report anything additional that could help the police, including learning disabilities, depression, known communication with strangers online, illnesses and medications, age gap relationships during teenage years, prior victimization, and a history of past disappearances.
  2. Be Radically Honest with the Investigators: Every investigation needs a full accounting of the details in order to move forward smoothly. Be completely honest – and don’t leave out any details, even if they’re sensitive.
  3. Stay Organized: Keep a notebook or digital document with details of all interactions with law enforcement, including names, badge numbers, and the content of conversations.
  4. Follow Up: Stay in regular contact with the investigators handling your case. Don’t hesitate to reach out for updates or to provide new information.
  5. Understand the Process: Ask the police to explain their process and what you can expect. Understanding the steps they’re taking can help you feel more involved and informed. Expect that they cannot share case specifics with you.
  6. Establish Rules for Communication: Once the investigation is underway set up a schedule for communication– verbalizing “Let’s talk every day at 10am” so that find out who else you’ll be communicating with in relation to your case
  7. Work Together: Work with the police, despite how frustrating it is to wait for answers. Ask the officer “what would you do if this was your child?” to remind them of your humanity and foster empathy. 

What to Expect from Law Enforcement

  1. Initial Response: Law enforcement should take your report seriously and begin an investigation immediately. They may issue an Amber Alert if certain criteria are met. There is no established waiting period for an investigation. It is when there is a reason to believe the child is missing. 
  2. Investigation: The police may conduct searches, speak with witnesses, and utilize media to help find your child. They might also work with other agencies and utilize resources like the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). Use the resources (posters) provided by law enforcement. Do not post on social media or conduct media interviews without first communicating with the police.
  3. Communication: While the police may not be able to share all details of the investigation, they should keep you informed of significant developments. 

Coping Emotionally

  1. Seek Support: Reach out to family, friends, or community support groups. It’s essential to have emotional support during this time. Therapists or counselors specializing in trauma can also provide critical emotional support.
  2. Self-Care: It’s easy to neglect your health during this crisis. Try to maintain a routine, get enough rest, eat healthily, and find small moments for self-care. Your strength is vital in the search for your child.
  3. Express Yourself: Find a safe outlet for your feelings, whether it’s through talking, writing, or another form of expression. Keeping a journal can be a therapeutic way to process your emotions.
  4. Find Qualified Support Organizations: Seek out organizations who are established to help families of missing children. One of our favorites doing great work with families nationwide is Cleveland Missing.

I'm a family member needing help

Unfortunately, we are not able to work directly with families. Our task force serves as a support to law enforcement facing complex child-focused cases, in communities nationwide. We are only able to provide intelligence directly to law enforcement.

What can I do? Invite the investigator assigned to your case to contact the NCPTF for assistance.

If you or someone else are in immediate danger, please call 911 or your local police or visit our Get Help page for specific support resources.

what is your process?

When a case is submitted our team of investigators reviews the submitting officer's credentials and all provided case details.

We activate our network of investigative volunteers who work to find and verify patterns that tell a story about the victim's whereabouts, and the people around them.

We also assess what technology solutions would help the investigator, facilitating access to a suite of cutting-edge resources based on each case's unique needs.

Then we activate our network to surround the investigator with the information they need to recover kids safely and restore justice.

how can i get law enforcement to work with ncptf?

Share this website with the investigator assigned to the child's case. Our team takes a collaborative approach, working with each investigator to provide intelligence, support, and access to technology that would otherwise be cost prohibitive in most departments.

We take pride in helping investigators solve cases and restore justice in their community.

what does an investigator get from the ncptf?

Our Intelligence document is created by the NCPTF team on each and every case. It includes a case summary and actionable intelligence findings.

This document allows for the investigator to follow each person's trail as they conduct a thorough investigation. The NCPTF works closely with the investigator to provide support at every stage of the process.

DO YOU NEED HELP?

If you or someone else are in immediate danger, please call 911 or your local police.