Frequently Asked Questions

About Us

Why was the Missing Children’s Network created?
On November 1, 1984, a young boy named Maurice Viens was tragically taken from his family, friends and community.  His murder sparked the creation of the Missing Children’s Network by two concerned mothers.

Thanks to the commitment of them and so many other caring individuals wishing to help families keep their children safe, the Missing Children’s Network is now the reference in Quebec in the area of missing and exploited children.

What is the role of the Missing Children’s Network when a child goes missing?
When a child goes missing, the Missing Children’s Network:

  • Assists with the preparation and distribution of posters, provides photographs to the media and places photos on the Internet;
  • Provides a distinct support and referral service for families during and following recovery;
  • Assists with reunification;
  • Acts as a liaison with law enforcement, social service agencies, the legal community, government and other appropriate agencies;
  • Acts as a liaison with the media when necessary;
  • Offers family and peer support;
  • Advocates for the family and the missing child.
What support does the Missing Children’s Network provide to parents?
Our experienced and highly skilled Case Managers provide families with the following services:

  • Immediate crisis intervention when a family needs help with a missing, exploited or recovered child;
  • Support for survivors of abduction and exploitation, including helping them to connect with other victims;
  • Emotional support for endangered runaways, parents, guardians and families;
  • Referrals to appropriate agencies and mental health professionals;
  • Reunification assistance from skilled therapists to help reintegrate a recovered child back into the home during each stage of reconnecting and rebuilding;
  • Support for siblings of victims;
  • Assistance in locating local organizations for exploited youth.
How many missing children’s cases has the organization helped to solve?

Since our creation back in 1985, our organization has assisted law enforcement in safely recovering 1,480 children!

How is the Missing Children’s Network funded?
The Missing Children’s Network does not benefit from any government grants for its operations and relies exclusively upon the generous support of individuals and corporations. Please help the organization in its continuing quest to bring missing children safely home and to prevent new tragedies.


How many children go missing every year in Canada?
Every year, on average, there are over 45,000 cases of missing children reported to police – in Quebec alone, there are over 5,000 reports made on a yearly basis.
Why do so many children go missing?
Children go missing from home for a variety of reasons. They may have run away after a heated argument with their parents or were lured away by an online predator. Many children are also taken to another country by one of the parents or were abducted by someone the child did not know.

Our statistics show that the majority of missing children are runaways. In fact, runaways account for 85% of all missing children’s reports. Thankfully, nearly 90% of these teens are safely located within the first few days of their disappearance. Unfortunately, a few will remain missing for days, weeks, months and even years.

Stranger Abductions

How common are child abductions by strangers?
Stranger abductions account for less than 1% of all reports of missing children. We can all agree that one missing child is already one too many.

Time is of the essence when a child is kidnapped by a stranger. Police need to be notified as soon as possible.

Parental Abductions

If the child is with one of the parents, should we really be concerned for his/her safety?
Taken from family, home, and friends by a parent or other family member, children are thrust into a life of uncertainty and isolation. This instantaneous loss of community can lead to a lasting depression, the loss of a sense of security or stability, a compromised ability to trust oneself or others and a fear of abandonment.

Family abductions:

  • Are a crime in every province in Canada;
  • Are not a custody issue;
  • Are a child welfare issue;
  • Have probable long-term psychological and social effects on the abducted child.

Facts about child abductions:

  • Few child abductions in Canada are committed by strangers.
  • The most common form of child abduction is by a parent or family member.
  • Parental child abduction is one of the most misunderstood forms of child abuse.
  • If one parent has taken or keeps a child from the other parent, criminal charges may apply or civil enforcement options may be available.
  • Every year, more than 300 Canadian children become victims of family abduction.
Why do parents kidnap their own children?
The motive for family abduction often results when disputes over custody of a child cannot be satisfactorily resolved or when one parent abducts the child to express control, anger or revenge over the other parent. The child often struggles with difficult feelings towards both parents including fear, guilt, shame, confusion and divided loyalty. Many of these children are traumatized, forced into living like fugitives, or plunged into poverty, instability and a life of deprivation and neglect.


Why are there so many runaways in our country?
Runaways account for over 85% of all missing children cases and involve youth between the ages of 12-17.

The reasons why children run away are complex, but are generally associated with them attempting to gain some control over their lives. While most runaways return home within a few days, a smaller number of them may spend periods of time on the streets, in shelters or in other unfamiliar environments.

Unfortunately, youth are vulnerable the minute they leave home. Since they are alone to fend for themselves, runaways become easy targets for predators seeking to exploit youth. The grooming process begins by offering these teens shelter, food or expensive clothing.

Once a relationship of trust has been established, these predators can easily lure the teens into criminal activities such as prostitution, stealing or selling drugs.

What can I do to prevent my teen from running away?
Following are several suggestions that may help prevent your child from running away:

  • Establish healthy communication with your child. Remain open and honest;
  • Change your work schedule, if possible, to be home when he returns from school;
  • Invite your child’s new friends to the house to get to know his social network;
  • If suspicious, ask your child whether he has intentions of running away;
  • Talk to your teen about the dangers of running away from home;
  • Always tell your child that you love him and that he is important to you.

It is important to identify your child’s needs. The better a parent understands his child’s needs, the better he can help him meet those needs and help prevent him from running away or engaging in risk taking behaviour.

Are there any warning signs that my child is thinking of running away?
Possible warning signs that your child is thinking of running away:

  • Accumulating money and personal possessions (money and clothing hidden in his room);
  • Talking about running away (some try to anticipate their parents’ reaction on this subject);
  • Problems at school (academic or disciplinary problems);
  • Family problems;
  • Alcohol or substance abuse;
  • A sudden change of friends or companions;
  • Isolation;
  • Extreme change of habits (sleeping or eating);
  • Anger outbursts (unusual or repeated anger);
  • Breaking family rules;
  • Depression.
My child has run away – what can I do?
Contact the police as quickly as possible. Contrary to what you might have heard or seen on TV, there is no law stating that you have to wait 24 hours before informing the police that your child is missing.

It is important that you have aIl the necessary information regarding your child and be ready to give it to the police, including an updated photo. This will facilitate their job and accelerate the search for your missing child.

Contact our offices at 514 843-4333 for support and assistance.

What is the Amber Alert Program?
The Amber Alert Program was implemented in Quebec in May 2003. The Amber Alert Program is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies and broadcasters and is used to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases by airing a description of the abducted child and suspected abductor.

The original Amber Alert Program was established in 1996 in Arlington, Texas, as a result of the kidnapping and murder of nine-year old Amber Hagerman. To date, the Program has been credited with the safe recovery of hundreds of children across North America.

When is an AMBER Alert issued?

In Quebec, Montreal Police and the Sûreté du Québec are the two authorities that can trigger an Amber Alert. In order for an Amber Alert to be triggered, the following criteria must be met:

  1. The police have reasonable grounds to believe that a child (under 18 years of age) has been abducted.
  2. The circumstances of the abduction indicate that the child is in imminent danger.
  3. The police have sufficient descriptive information on one or more elements (child, suspect, means of transportation used) to consider that the immediate broadcast of the alert will help in finding the child.
What is the public’s responsibility when an Amber Alert is triggered?

During an AMBER Alert, the public is urged to share all pertinent information with their own personal networks and to be on the lookout for the missing child. The public is urged to immediately contact police if they have any information that can help them locate the missing child.

My child is missing – What do I do?
  • Try to remain calm.  You will be better able to help your child with a clear mind.
  • Enlist the help of a relative or a friend.
  • If your child goes missing from your home, begin by conducting a thorough search of your entire house and property, including small hiding places and other areas such as attics, basements, cupboards, tool sheds, old refrigerators, heating ducts, piles of laundry and underneath beds.
  • Check to ensure that your child isn’t at someone’s house such as a neighbours, friend’, family or acquaintance.
  • Verify if any personal effects or clothes are missing. This could indicate a runaway situation.
  • Look for any clues or messages that could have been left behind.

If you can’t immediately find your child, contact your local police.  Please note that there is no minimum waiting period (such as 24-hours) before reporting a disappearance.

When does the Network stop searching for a missing child?
We never stop searching! Until a missing child is recovered, a case remains active.

Once the ground search concludes and the spotlight begins to fade it becomes a constant challenge to keep the community, as well as the media’s focus, on that of the missing child. An ongoing goal of the Missing Children’s Network is to identify different ways and means of ensuring that these cases remain in the public eye by continuing to stimulate media attention, generate new leads and ultimately bring the child back home.

Every year, the Missing Children’s Network, commemorates the milestone anniversary of long-term missing children by organizing an event on behalf of the family, in the hopes that these initiatives generate new leads that will eventually provide the families with the gift of closure.

Our motto is: Missing…but never forgotten.
How can I help?
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and share posters of missing children with your network of partners;
  • Report any tips or information you may have regarding a missing child;
  • Speak to your child’s school and invite the Network to present one of our age-appropriate personal safety workshops;
  • Organize a fundraising event and collect funds in support of our critical mission;
  • Get your company involved with the search for missing children by joining our Corporate Partner Poster Campaign;
  • Volunteer your time and services on behalf of missing children.

If my teen is having problems, are there any resources available to help?

The following community organizations provide confidential services to youth:

Al-Anon Alateen
514 866-9803

Alcoholic’s Anonymous
1 888 424-2975

Drugs: Help and Referral
1 800 265-2626

514 271-0554

Kids Help Phone
1 800 668-6868

Montreal Sexual Assault Crisis Line
514 934-4504

Narcotics Anonymous
1 855 544-6362

Need Help Now

Projet 10
514 989-4585

Suicide Action Montreal
1 866 277 3553

Youth Runaway

Gai écoute
514 866-0103