Press Release

Strengthening Inter-agency Cooperation and Enhancing the Role of Local Governments for Improved Protection and Support of Missing Children and Persons with Disabilities

  • Date 2024-04-17
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Strengthening Inter-agency Cooperation and Enhancing the Role of Local Governments Needed for Improved Protection and Support of Missing Children and Persons with Disabilities

  • 18 years after the enactment of the Act on the Protection and Support of Missing Children, it has become necessary to assess the overall systems for the protection and support of missing children and missing persons with disabilities

  • The role of local governments in overseeing and managing the protection and support of missing children and persons with disabilities needs to be strengthened

  • Cooperation among relevant agencies is important in preventing and responding to the missing of children and individuals with disabilities


KIHASA has released the Health and Welfare Issue & Focus, No. 446, "Protection and Support Systems for Missing Childen and Individuals with Disabilities: Major Issues and Suggestions for Improvement." The lead researcher of the study behind this brief is Dr. Lim Sung-Eun, Associate Research Fellow in the Department of Social Services Policy Research at KIHASA.

Dr. Lim said, "Despite the introduction and subsequent improvement of the relevant policies and programs for the protection and support of missing children and missing individuals with disabilities since the enactment of the Act on the Protection and Support of Missing Children (hereinafter Act on Missing Children), there have been few attempts and little research to assess the overall status and specific conditions of the systems for the protection and support of missing children and individuals with disabilities. There is also a lack of cooperation among the relevant agencies. And these create gaps and overlaps in the required support."

"There needs to be an initiative to reform the protection and support systems so that the tasks related to missing children and persons with disabilities can be integrated and coordinated while taking into account the different characteristics of the two different groups, so that the expertise of various agencies involved can be utilized to the fullest, and so that cooperation among them becomes smoother," said Dr. Lim, adding, "More efforts must be made to prevent, protect, and support missing children and missing individuals with disabilities by strengthening the role of local governments and enhancing cooperation among relevant agencies."


Summary of the Brief

  • The enactment in 2005 of the Act on Missing Children has laid the legal and regulatory foundation for the protection and support of missing children, but there have been few attempts to assess the overall status of the systems for the protection and support of missing children and missing individuals with disabilities.

  • Since it is difficult to maintain policy interest in missing children and individuals with disabilities without incidents of missing persons constantly drawing people's attention, there now needs to be policy effort to pay more attention to the institutional approach to the missing of children and individuals with disabilities and to improve and reorient the systems for their protection and support.

  • The implementation of the Act on Missing Children is carried out in a dualistic system, with the responsibilities divided between the National Policy Agency and the Ministry of Health and Welfare, while the National Center for the Rights of Child is in charge of detailed support work. However, the policy needs to be redirected towards strengthening the role and responsibilities of local governments.

  • There is a need to develop expertise in consolidating and coordinating the tasks of the agencies responsible for the prevention and management of missing children and missing persons with disabilities, who have different characteristics that distinguish them from each other, and to improve cooperation among these agencies.

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