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HILI Highlight: The First Three Hours

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OJJDP-Sponsored, October 2017. This information sheet provides Tribal communities tips on how to be prepared as a parent or guardian when a child goes missing. The first three hours are the most crucial window of time for an initial response and gathering available resources about a child. 2 pages. NCJ 251734.

Abstract | PDF

The UNITY Peer Guides and Healing Indigenous Lives Initiative is dedicated to spreading awareness of available resources to Native youth to help increase community safety protective factors and reduce youth risky behaviors contributing to juvenile delinquency. 

Being Prepared Can Save Your Child’s Life

When your child has gone missing, you may naturally be feeling lost, confused, or
isolated trying to make sense of the situation. In order to help recover your child in the
midst of such chaos, it is important to remember that time is the enemy. Recent statistics
demonstrate the importance of preplanning and initial response immediately after a
child goes missing to ensure a successful recovery.

The first 48 hours following a child’s disappearance are the most critical to make sure a child gets returned
home safely. However, the first 3 hours are the most crucial window of time for an initial response, as well
as for gathering all available resources you have on your child. This is even more urgent on reservations, where
Tribal and State jurisdiction can change quickly. For this reason, it is important to know how you can be the best
prepared should a situation like this arise in your family or community.