The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) announced today it will open a new office serving the Capital District Region of New York State, located at 359 Ballston Avenue in Saratoga Springs, New York. Funded entirely through private donations, the new office will provide child safety education programs on abduction and sexual exploitation prevention to schools and community groups throughout the region as well as training for law enforcement.
Local business leaders Sam and Linda Palazzoleled the efforts to build a strong and vibrant local advisory board with the ultimate goal of establishing a NCMEC office to provide child safety education programs to the children and adults throughout the Capital District Region.
“This is a long time coming and we are overjoyed it is finally here,” says NCMEC/New York Capital Region Advisory Board Chair Sam Palazzole.
“This is very personal for me. John Walsh and I were college roommates and I remember when six year old Adam went missing. It is imperative that we provide child safety awareness throughout the Capital Region regarding child abduction and child exploitation prevention – that means everything from cyber bullying to protection from sexual predators. We have to protect our children – and what better place than to start than in our own backyard.”
Retiring Saratoga Springs Police Officer John Kelly will staff the new office and provide abduction and sexual exploitation prevention education programs as well as Internet safety education programs for schools and community groups. Officer Kelly brings a wealth of experience as a DARE officer, school resource officer and law enforcement trainer to NCMEC’s efforts of making children safer.
“Every year, 800,000 children are reported missing in our country and 20,000 of these cases are right here in New York State,” said Ernie Allen, President and CEO of NCMEC.
“Yet because of the hard work of law enforcement, concerned citizens, and NCMEC, most of these cases are resolved. And today, I’m very proud to announce that the Capital District of New York Stateis home to a new location for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which will help protect our children.”
The Capital Region office will work with existing government and non-government organizations in prevention and education programs and will provide training for law enforcement throughout the region.
“We have long hoped to have a satellite office of the New YorkBranch serving the Capital District Region in eastern New York,” said Ed Suk, Executive Director of the NCMEC/NY.
“We are thrilled with the tremendous efforts of Sam and Linda Palazzole, the Capital Region Advisory Board and the many community members throughout the district that supported our efforts by attending local fundraising events for the past three years.”
Why the Capital District Region of NY?
- An estimated 800,000 children are reported missing every year in the U.S. During 2009, more than 20,000 children were reported missing in New York State, and 2,449 children were reported missing in the 11 counties of the Capital District Region.
- NCMEC/NY operates offices in Buffalo, Rochester, and Utica, NY. Having a presence in the Capital Region allows easier delivery of critical safety education programs to the children and adults within eastern part of NY State and into upstate NY.
- The Capital District Region includes the NY State Capital of Albanyand all primary NY State offices are located within the region including the NYS Missing and Exploited Children Clearinghouse and the NYS Department of Criminal Justice Services (NYS DCJS).
- Requests for NCMEC education programs within the Capital District Region have increased significantly over the last four years warranting a need for localized service delivery that is cost effective and timely.
- There is a strong demand for training from NCMEC that would be convenient to law enforcement delivered locally in the Capital District Region.
“NCMEC has a long history of local service provision across NY State, the opportunity to expand services into the Capital District Region through sustained fundraising efforts and a local presence is an ideal way to provide critical safety education programming for the children families and professionals throughout the area,” said Suk.
“With a physical presence in the Capital Region, we look forward to enhancing our partnerships with law enforcement, educators, and community groups throughout the area in efforts to make our children safer.”
The NCMEC/NY Capital Region office will be providing summer safety and internet safety programs throughout the month of August at various locations throughout the Capital Region. Parents can bring their children to the NCMEC/NY booths at these events for free child safety information and electronic child identification cards that include fingerprints and photographs taken free of charge.
The problem of missing and exploited children is vast and complex. More than 2,000 children are reported missing every day; and one in five girls and one in ten boys will be sexually victimized before they reach age 18.
The office in Saratoga Springsis scheduled to open on August 1, 2011 in space donated by the Saratoga Center for the Family.
For a list of all summer safety programs please contact NCMEC/NY Capital Region Community Educator John Kelly, Jkelly@ncmec.org.
To learn more about NCMEC, call its toll-free, 24-hour hotline at 1-800-THE-LOST or visit their web site.