Gloria Yerkovich discovered the absence of a national system for locating missing/abducted children when her daughter was abducted by her natural father in 1974. Yerkovich didn’t see her daughter again until 1984.
Yerkovich searched for years, and realized the heart of the problem of many abducted and missing children lay in the absence of a way for such children to find help. Yerkovich started CHILD FIND in 1981, and built the organization with volunteer labor, donated equipment and skillful appeals to the media for help and support. Since more than 150,000 children a year are considered missing or abducted, a national registry of missing children was developed, as was a photographic directory of such children, and implementation of a toll-free number for children trying to find their parents.
CHILD FIND was the prototype for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Yerkovich’s efforts contributed greatly to national awareness of the problem. Awareness led to the 1982 Omnibus Victims Protection Act and the Missing Children Act, the signing of which Yerkovich witnessed at the invitation of the President of the United States.