The National Incidence Studies of Missing, Abducted, Runaway, and Thrownaway Children (NISMART) were undertaken in response to the mandate of the 1984 Missing Children Act.The objective was to estimate the incidence of children who were abducted by family members, abducted by nonfamily members, runaways, throwaways, and missing because they had gotten lost or injured.
Data were obtained from a household survey, juvenile facilities survey, returned runaway study, police records study, Federal Bureau of Investigation analysis, and a community professionals study. Findings revealed approximately 354,000 family abductions in 1988, 3,200 to 4,600 non family abductions, 451,000 runaways, 127,000 thrownaways, and 438,000 lost or injured children. Many of the children were not literally missing, caretakers knew where they were, and the problem was in recovering them. Family abduction appeared to be a substantially larger problem than previously thought. The runaway problem, however, did not appear to be larger in 1988 than at the time of the last national survey in 1975. It was determined that more than 20 percent of children previously termed runaways should actually be considered thrownaways. Recommendations to deal with the problem of missing and displaced children are offered. Appendixes provide additional information on NISMART. references, tables, and figures
Date Published: May 1, 1990