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December 6, 2013 - If you have seen the recent headlines, you are well aware that missing children have been very much in the news.  Everything from a California AMBER Alert leading to a nationwide manhunt, to babies that just disappear out of thin air, only to have the families prosecuted by Nancy Grace. But a lot of time, the reality is that many cases do not receive this level of media attention, nor coverage. At Child Quest International (CQI) we work with the even lesser know everyday victims of child abduction and exploitation.  We’re here for the children who don’t flash on your TV and often fall between the cracks in “the system.”

Family abduction happens when a family member, usually a parent, kidnaps and conceals a child for any length of time. Many parents do not know what to do or who to turn to when their child goes missing, especially when the child is being concealed by a spiteful ex-spouse. While some may see parental abduction as a harmless custody issue, the reality is a much darker offense for both children and parents.
In the case of Mrs. Hernandez, one of the many victims CQI assist in their time of need, the issues and legalities pertaining to her children’s case seemed insurmountable. Not only were her children missing, she was lost, herself, in the search for them in a foreign land.

When Mrs. Hernandez came to our office at the referral of the local YWCA in February of 2012, we immediately identified with her lose and sympathized with her fears, and then we got to work. After all, she had not seen or talked to her three missing children since July 2007. And to further complicate the case, the entire family’s US immigration status was in question, to say the least.

Regardless of the circumstances, the children’s physical and emotional well being is always our focus. When a child is abducted by a parent or family member, the trauma can leave scars that never heal, leaving the child to suffer from lifelong psychological damage.  And believe it or not: 78 percent of all child abductions occur when a parent or family member kidnaps their own children, a far more common and serious crime than our society recognizes.



San Jose Public Library Schedule: Free Child I.D. Kits

One of the most important tools for law enforcement to use in the recovery of a missing child is an up-to-date photograph along with descriptive information. A Child ID Kit is a simple yet effective tool in helping families maintain a current photograph of and descriptive information about their children. 

Child Quest International (CQI) will be at the following locations to provide FREE Child I.D. Kits* that include photo identification, digital fingerprints and safety tips.  

Service Dates: March 2013 - November 2013

For Dates & Locations,


QR Codes Used In Searches For Missing Children

“QR codes are still probably the best way of getting people off the page and online to a direct site,” Watkins said. 

Watkins helps organizations and families use QR codes to make missing person’s posters portable. People can write information on paper posters and memorize children’s faces, but it’s easier to share the information virally if they scan a code that puts the data in their phone.

He’s partnered with Child Quest International to help the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department find Sierra LaMar, a 15-year-old who disappeared in March 2012 on her way to a bus stop in Morgan Hill, Calif. They put QR codes on posters and fliers to take the search beyond county borders.

“If my flier’s just posted in San Jose, is it going to reach L.A.? With a QR code, it will,” said Anthony Gonzalez, Child Quest’s senior operations director. “It increases shareability, awareness and time-efficiency when reporting a sighting.”

In LaMar’s case, the code takes visitors to a mobile Web page similar to the one Watkins created for his sons, but with one crucial difference: Users can tweet the page or “like” it on Facebook, extending the search to social networks. The page also has LaMar’s physical description along with photos, videos and phone numbers.

Watkins used the uQR.me service to create the code and landing page for free. Users create an account to generate QR codes with adjustable appearances called vanity QR codes. People can change the color or embed photos if they don’t like the default black-and-white QR code.

Watkins embedded photos of LaMar and his sons on their QR codes to give the two campaigns a personal touch. He thought standard QR codes look too dehumanizing for missing children’s cases.

“They have a level of humanity in them because they actually have a picture of a missing individual,” Gonzalez said. “It means a lot to the searching families, but it also is very distinguishing between each one and the normal marketing QR code.”

Read more about QR Codes >>


Missing Children Project
Advertising Helps Find Missing Children (2011)

*UPDATE - The child involved in this program was located safely and reunited with his father in November 2012

TSM Advertising "Missing Children Project" works with Child Quest International (CQI) to locate missing children by showing their images on commercial screens. TSM and CQI have also developed a series of radio commercials designed to drive parents to the CQI website where they’ll find valuable information about keeping their children safe from abduction.

The objective of TSM’s and CQI's missing children TV project is to locate missing children by showing their images on commercial screens throughout the United States, thus providing thousands of people with the information necessary to help Child Quest International bring missing children home.

Law enforcement officials identified pictures as the single most important tool in the search for a missing child. One out of six children featured in photo campaigns is found as a direct result of the photo. The public plays a tremendously important role in the search for missing children, and photographs are the critical link between the public and law enforcement.

As part of this program, TSM and CQI will create partnerships with the business community allowing missing children’s images to be shown on commercial screens. Thus, developing an awareness program designed to deliver those images and vital information about missing children to the general public during commercial advertising time periods. The video commercial announcements may be shown during specific television programming (i.e. CNN Headline News), on retail screens in various locations (i.e. restaurants, supermarkets and malls), in movie theaters, at sporting events and so forth.

Thank you to TSM Advertising for partnering with us on the "Missing Children Project" & Keeping Hope Alive!