For Immediate Release: 3/17/2017
Queens Fifth Grader Wins New York’s Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest
Poster created by 10-year-old from Queens will represent New York State in national Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest
All New York State entries will be displayed in May at the Empire State Plaza Concourse in Albany to mark National Missing Children’s Day
Karen Lin wanted to illustrate the anguish and doubt experienced by the parents of a missing child.
The talented 10-year-old artist from John Bowne Elementary in Queens created a poster depicting a father clutching his face in sorrow. He’s flanked by photographs showing the silhouettes of his family – once-happy memories now shrouded in questions and uncertainty since his child went missing.
Karen’s poster has been selected from a pool of 100 entries to represent New York in the National Missing Children’s Day Poster Contest, a competition for fifth-graders sponsored annually by the U.S. Department of Justice. New York and other states annually coordinate their own contests, the winners of which compete against each other in the national competition.
The winner of the national competition will be announced next month in Washington, D.C. and the top student poster will be used to promote this year’s National Missing Children’s Day, which is marked annually on May 25.
“We all need to know that we’ll never forget our loved ones,” Karen wrote in a description of her poster. It was unanimously selected as New York’s winner by a panel of three judges, which assessed the posters without knowing the students’ names or what school they attend. The state and national competitions are designed to raise awareness and educate the public about unresolved missing children cases.
The New York State Missing Persons Clearinghouse, which is located at the state Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), sponsored the state’s contest. Judging the entries were DCJS Executive Deputy Commissioner Michael C. Green; Megan Craft, a detective with the Albany Police Department who specializes in missing children cases; and Matt Frear, whose teenage brother Craig disappeared from Schenectady County in 2004.
“All of these young artists put forward a remarkable level of creativity and contemplation in their entries to this year’s contest,” Commissioner Green said. “This was a very tough decision for us to make and all of these young students should be commended for their efforts to raise awareness for this worthy cause.”
May 25 was designated National Missing Children’s Day in 1983. On that date four years earlier, 6-year-old Etan Patz vanished in New York City. The boy’s disappearance gained wide publicity and created a groundswell of attention to the plight of missing children. Just last month – nearly four decades after Etan went missing – a Manhattan jury convicted a man in connection with his kidnapping and murder.
Karen’s winning entry and all other poster submitted to the New York contest will be on display at the Empire State Plaza Concourse in Albany during the week of May 22, to coincide with Missing Children’s Day. In addition to first place, New York’s contest featured second- and third-place winners: Alfred Krasniqi from Public School 30 in Yonkers secured the number two slot and Melody Jiang from PS 877 51st Ave Academy in Elmhurst, number three.
There were 18,417 children reported missing across New York State in 2016. Many of these reports were resolved and the median time for a case resolution was seven days last year. Still, 2,401 missing children cases remain unresolved from last year and prior years.
The Missing Persons Clearinghouse assists law enforcement agencies by providing training, case management guidance and investigative support, such as publicizing missing children cases. It also administers the state’s Missing Child Alerts, which are activated when a case involving a missing child under the age of 21 doesn’t meet AMBER Alert criteria.
The public is encouraged to receive notifications whenever the Clearinghouse or the New York State Police issue an alert about a missing individual. Both agencies partner with NY-ALERT, which sends out an automatic e-mail or text message to subscribers whenever an AMBER, Missing Child, Missing College Student or Missing Vulnerable Adult alert is activated. To receive these alerts or others, sign up for a NY-ALERT account by visiting www.nyalert.gov. Anyone with an existing NY-ALERT account can add these alerts through their profile.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (www.criminaljustice.ny.gov) is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including law enforcement training; collection and analysis of statewide crime data; maintenance of criminal history information and fingerprint files; administrative oversight of the state’s DNA databank, in partnership with the New York State Police; funding and oversight of probation and community correction programs; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry.