P.O. BOX 2120



January 11, 2008



Division Superintendents



Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Virginia's Missing Children's Day Poster Contest


An estimated 1.3 million children nationwide are reported missing each year. The good news is that most of these children return home safely. Sadly, many are never recovered. Each year, the U.S. Department of Justice celebrates the safe recovery of missing children at the National Missing Children's Day Ceremony. The Attorney General presides over this national event, which commemorates the valiant efforts of law enforcement officers, private citizens, and youth in protecting our children. This annual event also includes a national poster contest for fifth graders, highlighting our efforts to reunite children with their families.


The purpose of this memo is to seek your assistance in spreading the word to your schools about the statewide poster contest in Virginia and to use this event as an opportunity to talk to children about safety issues. Lt. Pete Fagan, with the Virginia State Police, is Virginia's Missing Children Clearinghouse Manager. He and a poster contest committee, composed of state agency representatives, will be taking the lead in working with school divisions.


The state winner will be selected from the entries submitted by the individual school divisions. Following the statewide competition during the week of March 1721, 2008, Virginia's winning entry for the national competition must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention no later than March 28, 2008. At the state level, the single state winner whose poster is selected to go to the national level of competition will receive a national award certificate from the Department of Justice.


At the national level, the single national winner, his/her teacher, and his/her parents will participate in the National Missing Children's Day ceremony at the U.S. Department of Justice to be held in late May. Transportation and lodging will be provided. The national winner will also receive a national award certificate and a U.S. Savings Bond. No other awards will be provided by the Department of Justice.


The attached materials provide assistance with promotion and implementation of the contest. The materials are also available at:


Included are:


1.          A fact sheet (with rules, judging criteria, and important dates)

2.          An application form for the contest participants to complete as a part of the poster contest package

3.          A letter to principals and fifth grade teachers inviting them to participate in the contest and to educate children about safety issues

4.          A letter to fifth graders explaining the contest and the reason for National Missing Children's Day

5.          A certificate of participation to be given to each student that enters the contest

6.          A sample flyer that can be used in hallways and bulletin boards


Each elementary school with a fifth grade enrollment may conduct their own competition with school winners participating in a division-wide competition. The process used to determine the winner of the school division competition will be the responsibility of the school division.


Winning school division entries should be postmarked no later than March 10, 2008, and sent to:


Ashley Presnell

Virginia State Police

Virginia's Missing Children Clearinghouse

P.O. Box 27472

Richmond, VA 23261-7472


If a parcel delivery service is used, the shipping address is:


Ashley Presnell

Virginia State Police

Virginia's Missing Children Clearinghouse

7700 Midlothian Turnpike

Richmond, VA 23235


I am requesting your support by distributing this information to the elementary schools in your division and encouraging them to participate in this important state and national safety event.


Questions about the contest may be directed to Ashley Presnell with the Missing Children Clearinghouse by phone at (804)674-2265 or by e-mail:






a. Fact Sheet (.pdf)

b. Application Form (.pdf)

c. Letter to Principals and Fifth Grade Teachers (.pdf)

d. Letter to Fifth Graders (.pdf)

e. Sample Certificate of Participation (.pdf)

f. Sample Flyer (.pdf)