In the post Hurricane Katrina and Rita disasters one of the organizations actively involved with the effort to reunite missing children with missing adults was National Center for Missing Adults.
Kym Pasqualini, Chief Executive Officer,
“… our organization during Hurricane Katrina expended over $200,000 of the agency’s unrestricted funds (reserve) with the verbal understanding that the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), United States Department of Justice, would reimburse NCMA.
We provided services to the over 13,502 Hurricane Katrina and Rita victims that requested assistance from this agency. We have received $50,000 from BJA but have little hope of receiving full reimbursement at this time as there were no written agreements with our agency and the federal government.
The funding could have been released via Kristen’s Law Reauthorization of 2005 (H.R. 2103). However, it continues to sit idle in Congress.
In the meantime, one organization not affected by funding, but is benefiting from Hurricane Katrina and Rita, is the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Even though they acknowledge NCMA for their assistance, NCMEC stands to be enriched the most by the disaster.
Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, sponsored the “Post Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 (S. 3721)” which was included as part of the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2007., along with Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO).
“NCMEC is pleased to be part of the federal government’s newly-structured disaster response plan, and brings decades of experience and expertise in the missing children arena,” said Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC. “As soon as Hurricane Katrina made landfall, our team worked non-stop with searching families, law enforcement, and other organizations across the country to help resolve the thousands of missing children reported to us,” added Allen.
Why wasn’t the NCMA included in this plan? The NCMEC acknowledges their joint efforts to search for missing adults.
“…In addition to reports of missing/displaced children, approximately 12,342 missing adults were reported to NCMEC’s Katrina/Rita Missing Persons Hotline and referred to the National Center for Missing Adults (NCMA) for case handling. Fifteen of NCMEC’s Project ALERT volunteers assigned to NCMA have helped resolved more than four thousand adult cases…”
View this USA Today article from last year about missing or displaced adults and children.