The NYS Missing Persons Clearinghouse
The Missing Person Clearinghouse is responsible for providing assistance to law enforcement agencies handling cases involving children, college students and vulnerable adults who have gone missing.
Clearinghouse staff members have extensive experience in law enforcement, training and information technology, and they provide investigative support services to local, state and national law enforcement, assistance to left-behind family members and community education programs.
When it was first created in 1987, the Clearinghouse focused on cases involving missing children under the age of 18 and its responsibility was expanded in 1999 to include missing college students. Since 1999, the Clearinghouse has coordinated Missing Child and Missing College Student Alerts. Similar to AMBER Alerts, these alerts are issued when a child under the age of 21 – or a college student of any age – goes missing and is deemed to be at a credible threat of harm.
In 2011, the Clearinghouse’s role was expanded once again, and its staff now assists with the investigation of cases involving missing adults who have cognitive impairment, mental disability or a brain disorder, and who are at a credible threat of harm. As part of the expanded mandate to assist with vulnerable adult cases, the Clearinghouse now coordinates a Missing Vulnerable Adult Alert system, using the same technology that alerts the public when a child or college student goes missing.
State and federal laws require law enforcement agencies to immediately accept and investigate every missing child, missing college student and missing vulnerable adult case and to enter information into state and national missing person files.
The Clearinghouse also provides the following specific services:
- Operating the 1-800-346-3543 hotline for case intake and lead information;
- Providing short and long-term investigative assistance to law enforcement agencies;
- Preparing and electronically distributing NYS Missing Child, College Student and Vulnerable Adult Alerts statewide;
- Placing missing child and vulnerable adult photographs and biographical information on the DCJS websites and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) website (children only);
- Analyzing, transcribing and entering dental and anatomical information into DCJS and National Crime Information Center (NCIC) files on behalf of law enforcement agencies and medical examiners;
- Developing and distributing printed missing child posters statewide;
- Administering the statewide missing/unidentified person repository (mandated "flagging" missing child birth and educational records is facilitated through the use of this data);
- Presenting investigative training programs for law enforcement officers; developing and disseminating investigative procedures and guides;
- Developing and distributing child safety literature; and
- Collaborating with NCMEC and other state clearinghouses.
The Missing Person Clearinghouse is housed at DCJS and operates pursuant to New York State Executive Law.
By law, it must publish an Annual Report that details the work of the Clearinghouse and the number of missing child and missing vulnerable adult cases reported annually. Clearinghouse Annual Report.