CRITICAL AREAS OF THE LONG-TERM COMMUNITY RESPONSE PLAN
Primary Contact — The role of the Primary Contact will no longer be a full-time responsibility. It is important, though, that the Primary Contact establish a regular schedule to communicate with all the parties that make up the Community Response Plan (i.e. the police, the searching family, other important community members, the missing children services organization, etc.).
Family Liaison — The Family Liaison will still need to provide support to the searching family, but on a much smaller scale. It is important that the searching family be allowed some privacy and independence in order to heal. The Family Liaison will provide support on a needs basis, and only when requested by the searching family. Depending on the searching family’s wishes, the Family Liaison may want to establish an expected time each week or month when they get in touch with the searching family and exchange updates.
Search Operations Coordinator — Depending on the nature of the missing child case, there may still be community interest in continuing search operations. This may include casting a wider search net by using the Internet and continuing to use the media to the fullest extent. Communities may also opt to continue ground search efforts where practical. The Search Operations Coordinator should still seek guidance from the police; however, there will be more opportunity for community action once police resources have waned.
Administrative Coordinator/Historian – The roles of the Administrative Coordinator and the Historian are even more critical as time passes. At any point in the future, the investigation may regain momentum. Ensuring that appropriate records are kept and any new developments are properly recorded may be extremely valuable in the future. As time goes by, it may become harder to recall timelines and events — this is why the role of the Historian is extremely important (keeping a copy of all information gathered by the Community Response Plan Team).
MAKE SURE ALL RECORDS ARE KEPT IN A SAFE, SECURE, DRY PLACE.
Public Awareness Coordinator – In the instance of a long-term missing child case, there’s no other area that is quite as important for the Community Response Plan than raising public awareness. Ensuring that the missing child is not forgotten and that the community continues to search is essential. Not only will it keep the search alive, it will give the searching family reassurance that their child will never be forgotten. Community support in this area is essential as it is inevitable that media interest will decrease over time. Establishing a public awareness plan with annual goals is important. Taking opportunities like the missing child’s birthday, anniversaries related to the disappearance, and special family occasions to remind the public of the missing child is one way to achieve this goal.
Resources Coordinator – It is still very important to ensure that all donations are being properly allocated. There may also be expenses incurred while trying to keep the search going that will require donations. The Community Response Plan Team can play an important role in helping raise the necessary funds for this purpose. Money can also be directed to establish a trust in honour of the missing child.