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Our Missing Children

The following are the categories of missing children that CHILD FIND ONTARIO assists.

Runaways, and in many instances, repeat runaways, comprise the majority of missing children. In most instances, runaways are often fleeing an unhealthy situation or what they regard as unsolvable problems at home. While the streets can be a very lonely and dangerous place, they provide sanctuary from an unhappy home life for some. Runaways are usually fleeing from a life of physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse. Unfortunately, the streets can lead to a life of prostitution, drug abuse or crime.

Stranger abduction, defined as an abduction by anyone who is not the parent or legal guardian of a child, accounts for a relatively small percentage of total listings of missing children (in 1993, a little more than one per cent of all listings of missing children were categorized as stranger abduction). Therefore, due to the sheer heinous nature of the crime, stranger abductions receive the highest profile.

Parental abductions comprise most of CHILD FIND ONTARIO's caseload. A parental abduction is usually the result of a bitter marriage breakup and an unfavorable custody ruling for one of the parents. Parental abductions are seldom acts of love for the child but, more often, retaliation against the custodial spouse.

Unknown: Many first time runaways are placed in this category as are some stranger abductions. In many instances, one has actually seen the taking of the child and there may be no reason to suspect foul play. This category also includes children for which there is no information available to place them in a specific category.

Other: When a child is missing from institutionalized care in treatment centers. Many are runaways but categorized under this term because of their unique circumstance.

- Other Categories -

There are two other categories of missing children as listed by the RCMP. Child Find does not typically register such cases but may lend assistance to parents, the police or other social service agencies who are involved in such cases.

Accident: When a child has been involved in some type of accident and the body has not been located or there is reason to believe that the child is alive but seriously hurt, either physically or mentally, making it impossible to return home.

Wandered Off/Lost: When a child wanders away from his/her parents, guardian or home, shopping mall, etc., and becomes lost, unable to return to a point of "familiarity". Foul play is not suspected and there is a high probability of finding the child.
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