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International Day of Missing Children 2024 – May 25

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International Day of Missing ChildrenInternational Day of Missing Children or International Missing Children’s Day (IMCD) is annually observed across the globe on 25 May to commemorate the missing children, including those who have subsequently been found, and to raise awareness about the issue of missing children.

  • This Day is now widely known as Missing Children’s Day, with the “forget-me-not flower” as its emblem.


In 1983, the then United States (US) President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 25th “National Missing Children’s Day” in the US.

International Recognition:

i.In 2001, May 25th was formally recognised as 1st ever International Missing Children’s Day (IMCD).

ii.Efforts by the Global Missing Children’s Network (GMCN), Missing Children Europe, the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), and the European Commission contributed to its establishment.

Why 25 May?

25 May commemorates the disappearance of a 6-year-old boy, Etan Patz, on his way to school in New York City (NYC), US in 1979.

  • Etan Patz was one of the 1st missing children to be profiled in the “Photo on a milk carton” campaigns of the early 1980s.

Missing Children in India:

According to the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD), between 1 January 2018, and 30 June 2023, 2,75,125 children went missing in India.

  • This translates to a rate of 6 children disappearing every hour.
  • This included 2,12,825 girls; 62,237 boys; and 63 children of the 3rd gender.

Regional Ranking:

i.Madhya Pradesh topped the list with 61,102 missing children, followed by West Bengal in the 2nd spot with 49,129 missing children.

ii.Karnataka was the state with the 3rd highest number at 27,538.

Note: Around the world, it is estimated that over 1 million young people are reported missing every year.

Efforts of the MoWCD:

TrackChild Portal:

The MoWCD has initiated the “TrackChild Portal” to track missing and found children. This portal involves multiple stakeholders, including:

  • Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), Ministry of Railways, State Governments/Union Territory (UT) Administrations, Child Welfare Committees, etc.

Mission Vatsalya Scheme:

i.The Mission Vatsalya Scheme, introduced by the MoWCD, integrates the former Child Protection Services Scheme. It focuses on:

  • Care, protection, rehabilitation, and reintegration of children in difficult circumstances
  • Cost sharing between Central and State Governments
  • Institutional and non-institutional care as per Individual Care Plan (ICP) under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (amended in 2021).

ii.A Mission Vatsalya Portal has also been developed by the MoWCD in consultation with States/UTs.