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President George W. Bush hosted the first-ever White House Conference on Missing, Exploited, and Runaway Children to raise public awareness of steps that parents, law enforcement, and communities can take to make Americas children safer.
Background on Presidential Action
President Bush hosted the White House Conference on Missing, Exploited, and Runaway Children to promote public awareness of the need to improve childrens safety, and to generate recommendations and best practices from experts in the field. More than 600 people from across America came to the Conference, including parents of victim children; law enforcement officials; federal, state and local leaders; citizen experts; and other leaders involved in the cause of missing, exploited, and runaway children.
According to the Department of Justice, almost 800,000 children are reported missing to law enforcement each year, while another 500,000 children go missing without being reported to authorities. The White House Conference on Missing, Exploited, and Runaway Children focused on a wide range of topics related to childrens safety, including child abduction; runaway and homeless youth; international child abduction; sex trafficking of children; child pornography; Internet safety, and corporate and community involvement.
President Bushs Commitment to Increasing Childrens Safety
For FY 2003, President Bush has proposed a 26% increase in funding for the Missing and Exploited Children's Program, which provides training for state and local enforcement on handling missing child cases. As a result, the Presidents budget request would almost double funding for the Department of Justices Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICACTF) program.
In August, the President also announced the release of a new guidebook the Parents Guide to Child Safety. The guidebook is designed to help parents take specific steps to improve the safety of their children, and it includes information that children of all ages can understand. The guidebook reflects the work of experts on child safety from the Department of Justice, the Department of Education, the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It is available online in English and in Spanish at www.missingkids.com. The Department of Education sent a copy of the English and Spanish version to every public and private school and all main public libraries in the country, reaching over 110,000 schools and more than 6,000 libraries. In the two weeks following the mailing, the Department of Education took orders for more than 1 million additional copies of the English version and nearly 200,000 copies of the Spanish version.
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