MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It's National Missing Children's Day. According to the FBI, in 2020, they had more than 365,000 entries for missing children in its National Crime Information Center.
Kidnapping or abductions isn't the root reason for missing children and it's not even close.
“The truth is 1% of the time that’s how it’s going to play out: 1% or less," Brian Callies, Saving Lost Kids Founder, said.
Saving Lost Kids is a national non-profit in Memphis dedicated to saving missing, exploited and sex-trafficked children.
"When children go missing we can do something about it most of the time by preventing it from happening at the beginning," Callies said.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children report 94% of children that go missing are endangered runaways. Runaways, that the center says are at a high risk of repeatedly running away, alcohol and drug use, mental illness diagnosis, suicidal tendencies and sex trafficking.
“We want to change the paradox in running away to running to safety," Callies said. "If we can stop them from just running away, running from a problem into the dangers of the world and bad guys arms like that. Let's change that and instead run to safety.”
Callies said preventing kids from running away is their key to keeping kids safe. He stresses parents teach how dangerous running away is to kids.
“What we can’t teach which is what most parents teach is I will punish you if you ever think about running away," he said.
Teaching that, he said, can prevent children that did run away from coming home sooner out of fear of getting into trouble.
It's also important that a child feels like they have a safe place to go if they have tendencies to leave.
"If parents can put someone in their lives that when that they see that my child is going to have that tendency and talk to the child communication is key," he said." Let that child talk to you about that stuff that is hard without getting in trouble.”
Callies said in the greater Memphis area, there are several children still reported to be missing. Click here to see the info of children still missing.
People can text "APB" to 51555 to become a "digital deputy". Saving Lost Kids will send you a child's photo and info anyone one goes missing.
For resources, safety seminars and help, visit SavingLostKids.org.
(TBI NEWS RELEASE) - Today, to coincide with National Missing Children’s Day, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation launched TN KidKit, a resource to help parents and guardians document key details about the children in their care, just in case an emergency should arise.
“When a child goes missing, every second matters,” said Shelly Smitherman, TBI’s Assistant Special Agent in Charge overseeing the Bureau’s missing children efforts. “So, too, does having the right kind of information.”
TN KidKit provides parents and guardians an easy-to-use way to compile key facts, photographs and additional relevant information about their children, which can then be printed or digitally stored to easily share with law enforcement if a child in their care were to go missing.
“We work too many missing children cases in which parents don’t have a suitable picture of their children or can’t recall their height, weight, or other key facts,” said Smitherman. “Trying to remember them when their child is missing is understandably tough and can often slow down an initial search. That’s why we’d encourage every parent to take a few minutes to fill out a TN KidKit – and update it regularly – just in case it might help when it matters most.”
The resources, along with more information about missing children in Tennessee, can be found online at www.TNKidKit.com.