Establishment and overview
Primarily funded by the Justice Department, the NCMEC acts as an information clearinghouse and resource for parents, children, law enforcement agencies, schools, and communities to assist in locating missing children and to raise public awareness about ways to prevent child abduction, child sexual abuse and child pornography. John Walsh, Noreen Gosch, and others advocated establishing the center as a result of frustration stemming from a lack of resources and coordination between law enforcement and other government agencies.
The Center provides information to help locate children reported missing (by parental abduction, child abduction, or running away from home) and to assist physically and sexually abused children. In this resource capacity, the NCMEC distributes photographs of missing children and accepts tips and information from the public. It also coordinates these activities with numerous state and federal law enforcement agencies.
Effective September 5, 1995, applications seeking the return of or access to children in the United States under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction were processed through the NCMEC for the United States Department of State, Office of Children's Issues under contract with the United States Department of State and the United States Department of Justice. On April 1, 2008, the Office of Children’s Issues in the Department of State re-assumed U.S. Central Authority duties for processing incoming cases under the Hague Abduction Convention. As a result of its status as a government contractor as well as funding provided under the Missing Children Act and Missing Children's Assistance Act, the National Center receives (as of 2008) US$40-million funding each year from the United States Government.
In 1998, NCMEC founded a separate international organization, International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children (ICMEC), to do similar work in the international arena. In August, 2008, the ICMEC was granted "Special Consultative Status" with the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), primarily to assist the UN by providing expertise regarding the issues of child sexual exploitation and child abduction.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is an associate of PACT Parents and Abducted Children Together in the United Kingdom.
Global Missing Children's network
The UK Missing Kids is a website developed by the NCMEC that distributes images of missing children to the public and police agencies worldwide, and forms part of a 17 country Global Missing Children's network. The ACPO approved police website is managed by the Missing Persons Bureau based at the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) at Bramshill, Hampshire. Launched in 2000, the website distributes images of missing children to the public and police agencies worldwide. Posters can be printed directly from the website by the police and public allowing these to be displayed anywhere.cit req
In 2007 NCMEC and Duracell along with the public relations firm PainePR produced a children't book title The Great Tomato Adventure: A Story About Smart Safety Choices along with a series of educational tools for parents and guardians of older children called Teachable Moments Guides. The books were produced and published by Arbor Books and the foreword was written by actress, and best-selling children’s book author, Jada Pinkett Smith. Both tools were introduced as an extension of the successful child safety program that launched in 2006. The book was made available as a free download via the Power of Parents program Web site. 
Notable board members
Former United States Senator Dennis DeConcini.
- AMBER Alert
- Child abduction
- Code Adam
- National Child Victim Identification Program
- International child abduction
- Child abduction alert system
- "Bringing Hague Return Proceedings in the United States". http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PageServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US&PageId=213. Retrieved 2010-08-12.
- "NCMEC Press Release". http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/NewsEventServlet?LanguageCountry=en_US&PageId=3701.
- "International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children". http://www.icmec.org/.
- "INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN GRANTED SPECIAL STATUS WITH UNITED NATIONS". August 12, 2008. http://www.icmec.org/missingkids/servlet/NewsEventServlet?LanguageCountry=en_X1&PageId=3772.
- The Great Tomato Adventure: A Story About Smart Safety Choices