Kristen’s Law was Introduced by Representative Sue Myrick (R-NC) and signed by President Clinton in November 2000 establishing the first national clearinghouse for missing persons over the age of eighteen who have been determined by law enforcement to be at risk due to age, mental or physical disability (such as Alzheimer's disease), suspicious circumstances or when foul play is suspected.
Kristen’s Law was to appropriate $1 million per year to the National Center for Missing Adults to continue to provide national assistance to families of missing adults, law enforcement agencies, medical examiners and coroners. However, during the Bush Administration NCMA has experienced a significant reduction in federal funding from a $1 million per year appropriation to only $146,000 for year 2006.
It has been stated that the President’s non-domestic spending has affected thousands of nonprofits and crime related law enforcement programs throughout the country.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the assistance of NCMA was requested by the United States Attorney General's Office and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, United States Department of Justice. NCMA was asked to immediately provide assistance to individuals who were desperately searching for loved ones missing or displaced. NCMA responded and received 13,502 reports. In the months following NCMA resolved 99.8% of all reports received.
Providing this critical assistance cost NCMA depleted the agency's own reserve of non-governmental funds.
Who does this affect? The families of missing adults who suffer the trauma of ambiguous loss. For over 14 years, NCMA has been providing vital support services to families of the missing and the law enforcement community.
Kristen’s Law Reauthorization. H.R. 423, was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security in February 2007. It continues to sit idle! With only weeks left to pass this important piece of legislation the 110th Congress must take action and ensure NCMA’s services are available to missing adults, their families and law enforcement agencies nationwide.
We the undersigned wish to express our concerns regarding the lack of appropriate resources for missing adults, their families and local, state and federal law enforcement investigating cases of missing adults.
Every year thousands of adults become missing due to advanced age, diminished mental capacity, or foul play and are at great risk of both physical harm and sexual exploitation. Often there is no information regarding the whereabouts of these adults and many of them are never reunited with their families. In most cases, families and local law enforcement officials have neither the resources nor the expertise to undertake appropriate search efforts for a missing adult. Therefore the search for a missing adult requires cooperation and coordination among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies and along with the assistance from distant communities where the adult may be located.
The demand for the services of the National Center for Missing Adults has grown substantially. Since 2001, following the enactment of Kristen’s Act (Public Law 106-468), the National Center for Missing Adults has—served as a national resource center and information clearinghouse for missing adults; provided training to investigative law enforcement officers to prepare such officers to appropriately respond to missing adult cases; has provided policy training to police chiefs and sheriffs regarding the issues of missing adults; worked in cooperation with the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Office for Victims of Crime of the Department of Justice, the International Homicide Investigators Association, and many other agencies in the effort to find missing adults and prevent victimization to include providing emergency assistance to Hurricane Katrina victim’s resolving 99.8% of 13,502 reports received in the aftermath of the hurricane.
This important piece of legislation continues to sit idle in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Day after day the families of over fifty thousand missing persons await the safe return of their missing loved ones and are left with only hope that the 110th United States Congress will to make every effort to appropriate the necessary resources to the National Center for Missing Adults and ensure the resources essential to provide vital support services to families of missing persons and the necessary technical services provided to law enforcement agencies throughout the country do not vanish too.
We wholeheartedly support H.R 423 and urge Congress to immediately pass Kristen’s Law Reauthorization, H.R. 423 and expedite funding to the National Center for Missing Adults.