Missing Children Bill Signed Into Law

Lassa-authored bill improves communication between agencies

Madison – A bill that will improve the way out-of-home child care givers report when children in their care are missing, authored by State Senator Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point), was signed into law by Governor Walker today.

The new law, which brings state practice requirements related to children missing from out-of-home care facilities into alignment with federal requirements, was signed by the governor at a ceremony at the Marathon County Sheriff’s Department headquarters in Wausau.

“This legislation will help find these missing children faster by letting child welfare agencies and law enforcement share more information and make sure that when children go missing from out-of-home care that information will be entered in state and national databases,” Sen. Lassa said.

Under the measure, child welfare agencies will be authorized to share photographs and information about the child with law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The state child welfare automated information system will be modified to generate automated messages to the NEMEC, ensuring that the missing child report will be available to law enforcement nationwide and eliminating extra steps for caseworkers.  The measure will also ensure that Wisconsin will continue to receive federal funds to support foster care programs.

Sen. Lassa authored the bill with Representative Adam Neylon (R - Pewaukee).

“This law provides law enforcement with the tools they will need to find missing children more quickly, before they become victims of sex trafficking or other abuse,” Sen. Lassa said.  “I’m glad the bill had strong bipartisan support in the Legislature and is now state law.”