Custodial Interferences • Family Abductions • Non-Family Abductions • Runaways -- Always Free of Charge
 
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FAQ: Family Services Questions
 
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What types of missing children cases do you service?

Family and Non-family Abductions, Runaways and Unexplained Disappearances prior to age 18.

What services do you provide?

Our services may include computerized search, national and international networking, investigative casework, search assistance, poster and picture design and distribution, victim support, court advocacy, law enforcement coordination, reunification planning, legal and social service referrals, hope, encouragement, and emotional support.

What do you charge for your services?

There is never a fee for services regardless of the expense or duration of the case. Our services are ALWAYS FREE-OF-CHARGE.

Do you provide services for international missing children cases?

Yes. We are familiar with the international concerns families’ experience. Each case or country lends to its own set of unique circumstances and responses. Whether the country is Canada or Iran, we can guide families through the crisis.

Do you provide services for adult missing person cases?

No. Our services are for families whose child(ren) disappeared prior to the age of 18, however, we can provide you with resources to agencies who offer adult missing persons services.

Are there limitations to searching for and recovering missing children?

Yes. The searching party must establish proof of relationship with the missing child(ren) and all legal avenues must be taken with attorneys, law enforcement, FBI, etc. to recover a child. We will not bypass or shortcut the law and we will do everything we can to assist a family beyond the bureaucracy and dead-ends which can occur.

Is there a waiting period before I can contact law enforcement or register my missing child(ren) with OPERATION LOOKOUT®?

No. The law provides for immediate police assistance and reports. We will register your child(ren) promptly.

Law Enforcement says this is a civil matter, now what?

When custody is established, there is no waiting period and law enforcement can become involved immediately. If a jurisdiction disagrees, we will intervene with a copy of the current federal and state laws.

Custody of my child(ren) hasn’t been established yet, what should I do?

We may be able to help when custody has not been established. Depending on the laws in your state of residence, custody may not be necessary. To best resolve the issue, our Case Managers will provide systematic assistance and may provide lists of resources to attorneys and counselors who can provide additional help.

I need an attorney, but cannot afford one, what should I do?

Please visit the American Bar Association website for a directory of Pro Bono legal services.

My child ran away, can you help?

Yes. Runaways don't bargain for the problems they encounter when running to the streets. We provide tools for hope and direction and guide parents to family and social services. Our goal is to assist in locating a runaway as swiftly as possible and to participate in developing a plan for their housing in a safe and healthy environment.

My child ran away, could he/she contact you for help?

Yes. Your child can contact our HELPLINE for assistance by calling 1-800-LOOKOUT or 1 (425) 771-7335, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your child may also contact 1-800-RUNAWAY – For more information, visit the National Runaway Switchboard website.

How does initial contact begin?

Initial contact can be made by calling 1-800-LOOKOUT or 1 (425) 771-7335, available 24/7, email, casework2@operationlookout.org, by fax, 1 (425) 348-4411, by mail or in person (by appointment), 6320 Evergreen Way, Suite 201, Everett, WA 98203.

Where can I find your HELPLINE phone number?

The HELPLINE number is available by contacting 411 on your cell phone, through other child search agencies, in some major community service phone books, various social service and law enforcement directories, crisis clinics, fathers and mothers rights groups, abuse shelters, hotlines, posters, and through Toll Free Directory Assistance, to name a few.

When I call the HELPLINE, what can I expect to happen?

The HELPLINE Operators field calls 24 hours a day and will ask for basic information and about your situation. The operator will apply triage to determine the level of emergency. Depending on the level of or type of incident, the operator may contact the Case Manager immediately.

How do I register my missing child(ren) with OPERATION LOOKOUT®?

There are several ways to register your missing child(ren). You can pre-register online and download a Registration Packet, request a Registration Packet be mailed to you by calling 1-800-LOOKOUT or 1 (425) 771-7335, available 24/7, by mail or in person (by appointment), 6320 Evergreen Way, Suite 201, Everett, WA 98203, email, by contacting us, or by fax, 1 (425) 348-4411.

Do I have to wait for the Registration Packet to be mailed to me or can I expedite the process?

No. To expedite the process you can pre-register online here and download a Registration Packet.

After I make initial contact, what do I do if I get new information about my case?

Contact your Case Manager immediately by phone or email.

I registered my missing child(ren), why is my case still “pending”?

Your case may be pending because additional information and/or documentation may be required. Speak to your Case Manager to find out what is still needed to open your case. We will send a reminder letter to notify you of missing/incomplete documentation or information. We cannot open your case until we have your completed registration packet and all supporting documentation along with a comprehensive interview.

Why do I have to mail official documents?

At the time you contact us we have no way to confirm your identity or your relationship to the missing child(ren). These documents will provide corroboration. To expedite the receipt of your documentation you can scan and email your Case Manager with your Certified Custody and Court documents.

Can I send photocopies of my documents?

No. Your documentation must be certified by the court. Notarized copies will not be accepted.

How current does my documentation need to be?

We require your documentation be the most current available on file with the court authorities.

What are your policies in regards to opening and closing cases?

Before we can open your case, we must have your completed registration packet and all supporting documentation along with a comprehensive interview. Cases remain open regardless of the duration or expense we endure until it has been resolved, closed by the searching party, Court of Law, or Law Enforcement.

What procedures do you follow?

When a parent or legal guardian contacts us regarding the disappearance of their child(ren), a Case Manager will take note of the circumstances surrounding the child(ren)'s disappearance and review the situation in order to provide the searching party with customized direction.

A comprehensive interview, supporting documentation, and a completed registration packet is required to open a case. Upon the determination of your Case Manager, a full color poster master may be made and distribution can begin. Your Case Manager will also determine if sending a Missing Child "E"Lert and/or placing your child(ren)’s picture in our Missing Children’s PHOTO ALBUM is appropriate.

Client information is kept confidential and the search process depends on existing community services. Professional staff and volunteers conduct search and recovery efforts in collaboration with law enforcement, mental health experts, and authorities involved with the case at hand.

As a parent/legal guardian of a missing child(ren), is my personal information confidential?

Yes. We guarantee privacy. In situations of child abuse, incest, or abuse/violence in the family, we are required by law to disclose this information. In cases where a visitor to our website makes a report about a missing child, in doing so, submits personally identifiable information, we forward such information to appropriate law enforcement agencies for investigation.

Can I speak to my Case Manager anytime of the day or night?

Yes. If you have pertinent information regarding your case, you may contact our 24-hour HELPLINE, otherwise normal business hours are appreciated.

Can I register my child(ren) with OPERATION LOOKOUT® and other Missing Child Service Centers?

Absolutely. We encourage it. There are many benefits to registering your child(ren) with other service providers such as: services offered may differ from one agency to another, broader exposure of your child, and the capability to tap into additional expertise provided by each agency involved in locating your child(ren).

When it comes to having a missing child, time is of the essence and dictates that families in crisis should subscribe to, register, and rely on as many free accredited and reputable services as a family can obtain.

Can you provide me with other accredited and reputable Missing Child Service Center names and contact information?

Yes. Please visit AMECO, the Association of Missing & Exploited Children's Organizations website, or ask your Case Manager.

Do you work with Law Enforcement and the FBI?

Yes. We work closely with the authorities involved in the case at hand. Not all cases will involve the FBI; however, all cases will have a police report and a NCIC number in America or the equivalent in another country, unless otherwise authorized for assistance.

How long do cases remain open?

Cases remain open regardless of the duration or expense we endure until it has been resolved, closed by the searching party, Court of Law, or Law Enforcement.

Will my case get media exposure?

Perhaps. Your Case Manager will make that determination. In some instances, a case will require media coverage. OPERATION LOOKOUT® will seek to clear the pathway between family and media by addressing the media with a victim’s perspective.

Upon recovery, select missing children stories may be chosen to be featured by interview and/or dramatic presentations on television shows such as: Unsolved Mysteries, Current Affair, NW Cable News, 700 Club, TBN, America's Most Wanted, Larry King Live, Oprah, Geraldo, to name a few.

We respect the family’s right and need for silence upon a reunion. We will never divulge private or case related information to the media without the expressed written consent from the custodial parent/legal guardian.

In what way will my child(ren) get public exposure?

A child will not receive public exposure until the E-Z Form Registration is completed, a worldwide hold-harmless agreement, and required documentation is reviewed for authenticity.

Cases are "pending" until the screening protocol is satisfied. Upon the determination of your Case Manager, a full color poster master may be made and distribution can begin. Your Case Manager will also determine if sending a Missing Child "E"Lert and/or placing your child(ren)’s picture in our Missing Children’s PHOTO ALBUM is appropriate.

Volunteers registered in our Poster and Photo Partners program will help to provide public exposure. These concerned citizens have agreed to distribute one or more missing child photos/posters to bulletin boards, publications, law enforcement, customs border patrol, media, transportation stations, day care centers, grocery stores, etc.

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OPERATION LOOKOUT®
National Center for Missing Youth
uses dba trade names:
  • The Missing Kids Center -
    OPERATION LOOKOUT®
  • OPERATION LOOKOUT -
    The Center For Missing Kids®
  • The Foundation for
    Missing Children®
IRS 501(c)(3) Federal ID# 91-1298249
 
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