"As a father of two myself, my heart goes out to the thousands of
families of missing children in Illinois," Blagojevich said. "I'm
asking people across the state to ‘Light the Way Home' for our
missing kids. Turn on your headlights when you're driving, or switch
on your porch light to symbolize your commitment to finding these
children. All year, let's remain vigilant and engaged in our
communities and help return these children to safety."
In Illinois, an estimated 38,000 children are
reported missing annually, with roughly 95 percent quickly located
and returned safely home. Today, there are still slightly more than
2,000 children missing across the state.
May 25 has been observed as National Missing Children's Day since
it was first proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983. This
year, the 25th National Missing Children's Day highlights a new
campaign, "Take 25," to assist parents and others to teach children
to be alert to potential threats and provide simple preventive steps
that children can take to stay safe. Take 25 encourages families
to take 25 minutes to talk with their children about safety and
abduction prevention. A new online site,
been established for the campaign, providing 25 safety tips and
other information for parents, guardians, educators and the public.
"We know that teaching children about safety works. It is
important that parents and others take the time to talk to their
children about these issues. The new campaign is designed to provide
information to make it easy for parents and others to teach their
children about safety," said Ernie Allen, president and chief
executive officer of the National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children. "There is no better way to mark the 25th Missing
Children's Day than to launch an initiative designed to empower
children and help keep them safe."
Illinois, in partnership with Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky,
Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin, Nebraska, North and South Dakota,
Minnesota and Ohio, is also active in the Interstate Agreement on
Missing and Exploited Children. The agreement was established as a
network to improve identifying and recovering missing children. The
council is comprised of representatives of state law enforcement and
criminal justice agencies from each of these states and meets twice
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"The Illinois State Police continues to develop programs to
enhance our aggressive efforts to keep children safe," said Illinois
State Police Director Larry G. Trent "To date, more than 8,300
students, teachers and parents have attended NetSmartz workshops
that teach students, teachers, and parents how to stay safe online
and to protect children from online predators."
The NetSmartz Workshop was developed by the National Center for
Missing & Exploited Children and Boys & Girls Clubs of America to
teach children and teens how to be safer when using the Internet.
The NetSmartz training is part of the governor's comprehensive plan
to protect young people from criminals and sexual predators who use
the Internet to search for potential victims.
For Missing Children's Day, the Illinois Department of
Transportation is displaying messages on permanent, changeable
message boards along the roadways. The signs read "Missing
Children's Day; Light the Way Home; Turn on Your Headlights." The
message are being displayed on all message boards except those being
used for real-time traffic information such as lane closures,
detours, congestion information or for an Amber Alert.
"A missing child is every parent's worst nightmare, and IDOT
always stands ready and able to help in any way," said Illinois
Department of Transportation Acting Secretary Milt Sees. "IDOT is
able to quickly communicate with thousands of motorists through our
statewide system of dynamic message boards, and we are very proud to
play a part in the Amber Alert system. We urge all motorists to join
in observance of this day by turning on their headlights to help
show the way home."
[Text from file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]