The purpose of this Community Response Plan is to assist communities in responding to a missing child. When a child is missing, a community can make all the difference in the world — both in helping to locate the child and in supporting the searching family. We recommend that the Community Response Plan be initiated in cooperation with the investigating police agency, serving to complement and not jeopardize the investigation. More importantly, your Community Response Plan should be created with the consent of the family, and conducted according to their wishes. The information provided in this section of the website should serve as a guide in your efforts, helping to give you direction and to avoid common errors.

At we would like to recognize the efforts and groundbreaking work of the Laura Recovery Center in developing their Laura Recovery Center Search Manual. This manual served as an inspiration for this Community Response Plan.

The Community Response Plan has been divided into seven sections outlining ways that the community can assist in the search and recovery of a missing child. The seven parts are:

  • Organizing Your Community Response Plan

  • Assisting Searching Families

  • Search Operations

  • Administration

  • Raising Awareness

  • Funds Raised and Resources

  • Long-Term Engagement

We acknowledge that each missing child case is different and not all of the information in this Community Response Plan will be applicable to all cases. In each section you will find helpful tips, guidelines, things to consider and tools to assist you in your efforts. This comprehensive plan can be used in its entirety, or it can be tailored to your community’s specific needs.

At we encourage you to provide feedback on the Community Response Plan as we value your input and continue to develop the plan in order to best meet the needs of our Canadian communities. To provide feedback please contact us.


WHAT? The coordinated actions of community members to support the search for a missing child.

WHO? Community members who wish to assist in the search for a missing child and/or support the searching family. These individuals have the best interests of the child and the searching family at heart.

WHEN? As soon as possible —when a child goes missing immediate action is required. The earlier a coordinated effort can be pulled together the better.

WHERE? Communities can provide support no matter where the disappearance occurs. The plan will vary depending on the circumstances, the terrain and the resources available, but the need for community support will always exist.

WHY? When a child goes missing, having a coordinated community response is critical. Time is of the essence and having a group of concerned citizens available to assist in the search efforts whenever necessary can make all the difference in the world.