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GSA Program Keeps Focus on Missing Children

GSA #9415

June 22, 1997
Contact: Hap Connors
(202) 501-1231

WASHINGTON -- As nationwide events this week focus on National Missing Children's Day�Sunday, May 25�the U.S. General Services Administration's "Missing Child Alert" program begun last year continues to distribute photos electronically at the rate of 10 per month to federal buildings nationwide. Fifteen of the 96 children featured in 1996 were located.

GSA partners with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in this information-age effort to put missing children's faces and facts in the public eye each and every day. GSA downloads the photos and data from the NCMEC Internet site, digitally enhances and formats them, and transmits them to federally owned and leased buildings. The notices are posted on bulletin boards in nearly 900 buildings and on automated computer displays in 36 large federal office buildings.

"We are extremely proud of our partnership with GSA," said NCMEC President Ernie Allen in a memorandum to GSA employees. "One in seven children are recovered as a result of members of the general public recognizing a poster of a missing child and then alerting authorities or contacting the National Center's toll-free hotline." The hotline number is 1-800-THE-LOST.

"We are pleased to provide the technology to support the President's initiatives on missing children in this highly visible and cost-effective way," said GSA's Acting Administrator David J. Barram. President Clinton issued an Executive Memorandum in January 1996 directing federal agencies to post notices of missing children in government buildings.

GSA also has partnered with Consolidated Edison in New York to distribute photographs of missing children. Three children were located as a result of ads run by Consolidated Edison in major newspapers.

GSA offices across the country are focusing special attention on missing children this week, with particular emphasis on creating awareness in children through programs on "stranger danger." Activities include visits by McGruff, the crime dog, to day care centers in federal buildings. Some day care centers are providing parents with "Kinder Passports" containing their children's photos and fingerprints. By the end of the week, GSA will have distributed thousands of brochures through displays and kiosks in federal buildings nationwide.