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3/25/06

NCMEC - Public Perception

The NCMEC certainly has great public relations experts working for them. They should be ashamed of the way they use a topic like missing children to enhance their image and fundraising efforts though.

Read the following story;
"Missing-children cases tied to hurricanes now closed

NEW ORLEANS - The largest child-recovery effort in U.S. history is complete after more than six months, and 5,192 children who were missing after hurricanes Katrina and Rita have been reunited with family members, officials said Tuesday.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children worked with the FBI, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Postal Service, Red Cross and other agencies to find the thousands of children separated from their parents or guardians when Hurricane Katrina hit Aug. 29 and Hurricane Rita hit just a few weeks later.

Of the more than 5,000 children, all but 12 were found alive. Most were found living with other relatives, family friends or other adults, a spokesman for the center said.

The last displaced child, 4-year-old Cortez Stewart, was reunited with her mother and five siblings in Houston on March 16."
I guess if you are not involved in finding missing children, it might be difficult to understand why this pisses me off. I will try to explain a little.

First, the law that created the NCMEC stated they were to take the funding that created them and distribute funds to smaller orgs that help find missing children.

They do not do that. Although they get around 40 million a year in funding, 30 million of which are taxpayer dollars, they don't fund any effort that doesn't have their name on it. I believe they are afraid someone who is really do something will take a bite out of their funding from the government.

Their PR people are the best. They spend over 800,000 dollars per year, enough to fund some smaller organizations, just on public relations.

They get stories like the above circulated with the appearance that there was children missing all over New Orleans waiting for the NCMEC to sweep in and rescue them.

Here is the real scoop. One federal agency, FEMA, screwed up the disaster effort in many ways, one of which was not doing some type of documentation about who they bussed where. They did not do this, so another federally funded organization swoops in and figures out where all the children were bussed to and which relative they were with.

The children were not missing in the classic sense. They were bussed somewhere, with one of their relatives or caretakers, and FEMA didn't know where. NCMEC to the rescue! Funding assured! That should have been the headline.

by Chris McElroy
More things that just piss me off

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