Missing Children Society of Canada

Did you know that up to 50,000 children are reported missing in Canada every year? The Missing Children Society of Canada was established in 1986 to help families of missing children. Their mission is to reunite missing children with their searching families through professional investigations, emergency response, public awareness and family support programs.

Learn about how this organization is using technology to assist in the safe return of missing children.

 Transcript

JUDY PETERSON:
Lindsey was a beautiful young girl. She was athletic and funny and artistic.

JUDY PETERSON:
Lindsey was fourteen years old in 1993 and she was last seen walking down a rural road in the Comox Valley. We believe she was hitchhiking and she never got into town. She just vanished.

JUDY PETERSON:
The last thing I said to her was that I loved her and that I missed her and I've never seen or heard anything about what happened to her since.

AMANDA PICK:
Traditionally, most of the years that the organization has served, posters were the vehicle to bring awareness to our cases.

JUDY PETERSON:
The first couple of weeks I literally sat at a typewriter and made up a missing poster myself, and got colour photocopies, and a girlfriend drove me all over town and I, with my role of scotch tape, and I taped up posters trying to find out any information.

AMANDA PICK:
For the last four years we've been looking at how do we utilize technology in the search for missing children.

TEAM MEMBER:
Because it's so high...

AMANDA PICK:
We've created what we call the search program and it utilizes a couple different opportunities through technology. So, the first one is "most valuable network" and that allows us the opportunity for individual Canadians to donate their social media feeds to us.

Never been done before, and essentially what it does is create the first online search party, ever. So people can donate their Facebook or Twitter accounts to us and allow us the ability to be able to post directly on their news feeds. When you donate your feed to us, then everybody in your group sees it. So all of your friends and all of your followers. Now we have the reach of millions of Canadians nationwide through their social media feeds.

INSPECTOR CLIFF O'BRIEN:
We know that offenders, if they've abducted a child they want time and they want anonymity. And if we can get that information out, and people's photographs out and information and in the right hands at the right time, as quickly as possible, that's good for us. And that really increases our chance of recovering that child and reuniting them with their family.

AMANDA PICK:
Incredible program called CodeSearch allows corporate Canada and their employees to be connected to us through an app that we can send information to them immediately about a missing child.

Immediately they can hit one link and they're connected to law enforcement to provide critical information on a case

INSPECTOR CLIFF O'BRIEN:
What CodeSearch allows us to do is to, almost instantaneously; send out the information about a missing child. And sometimes all we want to do is target a particular community. And in some cases we want to blanket several provinces, or we may want to reach out to the whole country. And this, CodeSearch allows us to do that very, very quickly and very effectively.

JUDY PETERSON:
I truly believe that if this had existed when Lindsey vanished, that we would have answers and we would know what happened to her. If they could have reached 70% of that area and all the people in that specific area, up and down that street where she vanished, people would have remembered right away because it would have been within hours.

INSPECTOR CLIFF O'BRIEN:
I can assure you there is no law enforcement agency in this country that ever forgets about a missing child and we're always working on those cases.

JUDY PETERSON:
I can never stop searching for her. My biggest fear is that I'll never know.

AMANDA PICK:
For people like Judy and Lindsey and other families nationwide, this program serves to continue to bring awareness to their cases as well.

JUDY PETERSON:
Get on social media and donate your Facebook contacts and get involved. Get your friends involved as well because the more people that are involved in this technology the more successful it will be.

AMANDA PICK:
The hope for this program is not just that we save missing children now but that we prevent them from going missing.

 
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