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Madam Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman from Pennsylvania yielding and the support of the gentleman from New York.
I'm proud to sponsor H. Res. 454, which recognizes the 25th anniversary of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
As founder and co-Chair of the Victims' Rights Caucus, along with my friend from California, Mr. Costa, I am thankful for the work that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children does to protect the Nation's children.
At the time the Center was founded 25 years ago, there were little or no resources available to assist law enforcement with the cases of missing children. In fact, there was no way for police to enter information about missing children into the FBI's national crime computer. Today, thanks to the work of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, this is no longer the case.
Each year, approximately 800,000 American children are reported missing. When a child is missing, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children works tirelessly alongside families and law enforcement agencies in locating, finding, and recovering the children and bringing them home to their parents.
Many people may be familiar with John Walsh from his TV show America's Most Wanted, but they may not realize the tragic events that led to his advocating on behalf of children and his work with America's Most Wanted.
In 1981, Adam Walsh, son of John and Reve Walsh, was abducted from a toy department store in Florida at a shopping mall. Two weeks later, fishermen found Adam's decapitated head. They never found his body. He was 6 years old.
Last year, after 27 years of not knowing who killed their son, police announced that Adam's murderer was a serial killer who had died a decade earlier while serving five life sentences in prison. Ottis Toole was his killer's name, and although we know this knowledge did not take away the Walshes' pain, we hope that it gave them some peace of mind and a sense of justice.
Even during the years of unanswered questions, John Walsh turned his loss into advocating on behalf of children. He helped fight for the passage of the important Federal legislation, such as the Missing Children's Act of 1982 and the Missing Children's Assistance Act of 1984.
The Missing Children's Assistance Act of 1984 established a national resource center and a clearinghouse for missing and exploited children, thus creating the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. President Reagan officially opened the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on June 13, 1984. Twenty-five years later, we thank John Walsh for his pioneer efforts and recognize the center for their work on behalf of America's children.
We celebrate today that, since 1990, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's recovery rate of missing children has increased from 62 percent to 97 percent. Many children owe their rescue to the center, and many parents are grateful for the return of their kids, thanks to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
This legislation is sponsored by both the Victims' Rights Caucus and the Caucus for Missing and Exploited and Runaway Children. I would like to thank my friend and fellow co-Chair of the Victims' Rights Caucus, Jim Costa, and the co-Chairs of the Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus, Judy Biggert, Bart Stupak, Zoe Lofgren and Frank Wolf.
I urge my colleagues to support this resolution.
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