Division of Criminal Justice Services

The New York State Missing Persons Clearinghouse

Who We Are

The Missing Persons Clearinghouse is staffed by professionals with extensive experience handling missing person cases. They support law enforcement officials investigating cases involving children under 21, college students and vulnerable adults who have gone missing.  The Clearinghouse:

  • Provides support to family members of children, college students and vulnerable adults who are missing, and offers community education programs;
  • Administers three alerts that quickly disseminate information about a child, college student or vulnerable adult who is missing and at risk of harm;
  • Publicizes cases at the request of family members and law enforcement online, through social media and the distribution of printed and electronic posters;
  • Provides short- and long-term investigative assistance to law enforcement; and
  • Trains police officers and develops and distributes procedures and best practice guides for law enforcement agencies.

The Clearinghouse operates a toll-free hotline for case intake and leads: 800-346-3543

Alert Program

The Clearinghouse activates three types of alerts:

NYS Missing Child / College Student Alert

Missing Child Alert: Activated when a child younger than 21 is missing and believed to be in danger due to special circumstances, such as a cognitive impairment or medical condition, that place them at serious risk of harm or death.

NYS Missing Adult Alert

Missing College Student Alert: Activated when a college student of any age is missing and is deemed to be at credible risk of harm or death.

NYS Missing Adult Alert

Missing Vulnerable Adult Alert: Activated when an individual who is 18 or older; has a cognitive disorder, brain injury or mental disability; is reported missing; and is at credible risk of harm. This includes individuals with autism, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Alerts are only activated at the request of police agencies. Family members should contact their local agency as soon as their loved one goes missing.

Within minutes of an alert activation

  • Information about the person is distributed to police agencies, the media, Thruway highway signs, plazas and toll barriers, Department of Transportation highway signs, airports, bus terminals, train stations, hospitals and other locations.
  • Details are displayed on highway signs for up to eight hours.
  • Information is shared via Facebook (www.facebook.com/nyspublicsafety), Twitter (@NYSPublicSafety) and online (www.criminaljustice.ny.gov).
  • NYAlert subscribers are notified immediately. Visit www.nyalert.gov or call (888) 697-6972 to subscribe.

How long do alerts remain active?

  • Alerts can remain active for up to 72 hours. If the individual remains missing after that three-day period, case details are posted to www.criminaljustice.ny.gov/missing.

How do these alerts differ from AMBER Alerts?

  • AMBER Alerts are activated for abducted children younger than 18 who are believed to be at risk for serious bodily harm or death. For more information:  webnysftest1.ny.gov