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What should I do if my child goes missing?

The first step is to call your local police detachment and make a missing person/child report — if it is an emergency, call 911. Have on hand a photograph of your child, a description of your child (including what your child was last seen wearing and the location where your child was last seen) and your child’s identification numbers (i.e. birth certificate, passport, etc.). After making your report to law enforcement, we encourage you to register your missing child with in order to access additional support from a trained caseworker. Families do not have to search alone. is here to help.

Please visit the links below for further steps to take depending on the circumstances surrounding your child’s disappearance:

  • If your child has been abducted by a stranger or non-family member, click here.
  • If your child has run away, click here.
  • If your child has been taken by their other parent, click here.
  • If your child is lost, click here.
  • If the reason for your child’s disappearance is unknown or if your missing child is a young adult, click here.

Do I need to wait 24 hours before reporting my child missing to the police?

No. In Canada, you do not have to wait to report your child missing. You can make a report at any time — no waiting period is required.

The exception – some jurisdictions may require you to wait 24 to 48 hours before taking your report if your missing child is over the age of majority in your province (18 or 19 years of age depending on the province).

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