Posted from “When a child goes missing“.
At the same time states are implementing “Silver Alerts” to aid in the search for missing older adults, the Federal Government appears to be forcing the closure of the National Center for Missing Adults (NCMA).
To Family Members and Friends of the Missing,
Monday, November 5th, 2007, might be remembered by those involved in the missing persons cause as a day in which a huge step backwards was taken.
Unless something major breaks in the way of funding, this will be the day in which the National Center for Missing Adults (NCMA) will close their doors. Thousands of families will be affected, now and in the future.
Why is this happening?
The answer is complex, but in summary:
- The NCMA stepped up and assisted over 13,000 victims of Hurricane Katrina and was to be reimbursed for those expenditures, which were close to $250,000. At this time, the NCMA has only received $50,000 to cover the work they did at the request of the Dept. of Justice.
- The 2007 re-authorization of Kristen’s Law, (HR 423) which would provide the NCMA with up to $4 million per year in funding for 10 years, continues to remain in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security committee, with no action taken to help the center. This re-authorization effort has been in the works unsuccessfully since 2005.
- As experienced not only by the NCMA, but by other national organizations, including ours, the public does not generally consider missing adults’ assistance nonprofits as a part of their charitable giving plans. Corporations are also hesitant to provide funding, and grant makers don’t seem responsive, either. This lack of support has also contributed to the problem.
What will save the NCMA at this late hour?
If an “angel” company or person comes forward who can help keep the center operating until the Kristen’s Law Re-authorization funds are released.
The DOJ immediately releases the funds owed to the NCMA from their work related to Hurricane Katrina.
What Can I Do?
I spent time talking with Kym Pasqualini, founder of the NCMA, late last night, and based upon the conversation, this is what she asks of you if you feel moved to help with a final effort.
- Kym feels that, out of all the national media, the person who could best help with exposure and a push for action is Larry King of CNN’s Larry King Live Show. She says that Larry’s show is watched by many members of congress and that he is not afraid to step on toes to get something accomplished. If she could get a spot on his show as soon as possible, she plans to talk candidly about the situation.If you can help with this step, please write to Larry King at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him to have Kym on as a guest immediately. Keep in mind that even if a spot on the show is not successful at moving congress or getting the Katrina reimbursement, it could reach the “angel” company or person as mentioned above.
- Contact Peter D. Keisler, acting Attorney General, and let him know how you feel about missing adults losing their national clearinghouse and resource. Mention the 2007 re-authorization of Kristen’s Law, (HR 423) You can also write to Vice President Dick Cheney at email@example.com The White House fax is 202-456-2461. Use AskDOJ@usdoj.gov to send correspondence to the Attorney General’s office.
- The webpage for the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security is http://judiciary.house.gov/committeestructure.aspx?committee=6 Once there, click on the names of the various members and be redirected to their own websites with contact information. You can also write to your congressman.
Time is quickly running out for this year’s session, so please send your letters right away.
No matter what happens, we need to find a way to gain more support from the general public for our missing persons’ assistance organizations. We cannot allow the continued disintegration of all we have worked so hard for in the past few years.
Not only would the loss of the NCMA represent less support for families of the missing, but it also means that another avenue of training for law enforcement is gone. (When fully funded, the NCMA had assisted with providing specialized missing adults investigative training through the excellent Fox Valley Technical College.)
I know this is long, but in order to gain a better understanding, I would like you to also read the following:
http://voice4themissing.blogspot.com/2006/07/71006-matter-of-urgency.html (I am also posting this update on that link.)
There is a letter on the previous site that we used in our original campaign. I have re-written that letter for use in this campaign. You may use this letter to send to our government representatives and the Attorney General’s office. You will find this letter below my signature.
I know I have asked much of you, so if you can only do one thing suggested in this letter, write to Larry King and ask him to have Kym on as a guest right away.
Remember when the NCMA was there for you? Now you can be there for them.
If we do not try, then we will never succeed. If we do try, then we have a chance.
There is always hope.
Kelly Jolkowski, Mother of Missing Jason Jolkowski
President and Founder, Project Jason
I am writing to you about a bill, HR 423, which is now stagnant in the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. HR 423 authorizes the Attorney General to provide grants for organizations to find missing adults, and specifically to extend funding in the amount of $4,000,000 annually to the National Center for Missing Adults. (NCMA) This would allow them to continue to assist families of missing adults nationwide.
This bill has not made any progress this year. The government supports the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, (NCMEC) providing up to 35 million dollars per year in funding, but yet we cannot help the NCMA with 4 million? NCMEC does a fine job, but they do not assist in missing adults’ cases, leaving thousands of families without help or hope of recovering their missing adult loved one.
It has also been brought to my attention that the NCMA assisted with Hurricane Katrina missing adults at a cost to them of over $200,000. The government said they would reimburse them, but at this time has not. This situation, coupled with the fact that HR423 has not come to fruition, has placed the NCMA in the position of reducing staff, and even being forced to close their doors by early November if swift action is not taken.
Families of missing adults have few resources available to them as they search for their missing loved one. Hundreds upon hundreds of organizations exist to assist in missing children’s cases, but there are fewer than a twenty to assist with missing adults cases. As the main support system for families of missing adults nationwide, the NCMA has provided a highly visible means to bring awareness for their missing loved one. We cannot allow this valuable resource to cease to exist because of a lack of funding.
Even though you have not experienced this tragic situation in your own life, try to put yourself in our shoes, if only for a moment. The typical family of a missing adult does not have the means or knowledge to begin the necessary legwork on their own family member’s case. They must rely upon external sources to help them, such as the NCMA, to have hopes for a positive outcome.
I ask you to find out why HR 423 sits idle in the hands of our government’s representatives while the NCMA’s monetary resources have been depleted as the result of our government’s request of them. What can be done to ensure HR 423 is signed into law? Secondarily, I ask you to inquire of the US Department of Justice the status of reimbursing the NCMA for assisting with over 13,000 Hurricane Katrina victims.
This matter is critical, and effects human lives; not just the missing persons themselves, but also the left-behind families who suffer through the agony of waking up daily, not knowing what has become of their missing loved ones. [I know this from personal experience, as my own son has been missing without a trace for over 6 years.] <<alter to fit your story
I ask you to help in any way that you can in this matter. I would like to be able to wake up in the morning and know that everyone I love and care for is safe and happy, just as you are able. I speak for thousands of other families across the nation in saying this. If the NCMA ceases to exist, then our numbers will surely increase. I don’t want to see this happen, and I am confident you don’t either. Thank you.