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Our Mission

A Child Is Missing (ACIM)
is a Fort Lauderdale-based non-profit organization founded in 1997, was created because no community-based program existed for locating missing children, the disabled and elderly often (with Alzheimer's) during the crucial first hours of disappearance.


A child goes missing every 40 seconds in the United States. Your child has a 1 in 42 chance of going missing. We also address helping the Elderly, Alzheimer's and the Disabled.

Sherry Friedlander-Olsen Founder
Ms. Friedlander moved to South Florida in 1964 from Cincinnati, Ohio. She has been involved with publishing, public relations and marketing since 1969.

In 1976 Ms. Friedlander established Lauderdale Publishing and in 1982 began producing business publications, including Business In Broward, and Art Spirit!

She established A Child Is Missing (ACIM) in January 1997, a non-profit Florida corporation created to assist law enforcement in the search/early recovery of missing children, the elderly (Alzheimer’s), college students and the disabled.

She did not experience the anguish of a missing child, but no one in the country was offering a free service to law enforcement and it was needed. That is when she decided to take this on as a mission to help save the lives of loved ones that could not help themselves.

Ms. Friedlander is well known for her extensive participation in the community. Her community involvement includes Fort Lauderdale Kiwanis, past president; Nova Southeastern University Board of Governors for the Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, Broward Woman Alliance, Association for Missing and Exploited Children, board member; Broward Chiefs Association and other groups.

Among many awards Ms. Friedlander has received in recognition of her community service are the Kiwanian of the Year and Distinguish Service Award; the prestigious J. Edgar Hoover Award for Distinguished Public Service, conferred in October 2000 by the National Association of Chiefs of Police; Women In Communications, Woman of the Year 2002 and Women In Distress for 25 Years of Distinguished Service.

On March 25th, 2005, she was awarded Citizen of the Year by the Broward County Sheriff's Office (nominated by Criminal Investigations)

On December 1st, 2005, she appeared on the Montel Williams show and was honored for giving a piece of herself and a special gift – her voice – to make a difference in her local community by the 2005 Voices Campaign.

She has also participated in The White House Conference on Small Business, The White House Conference on Missing and Exploited Children and has been a speaker at various press conferences and television shows for missing children. She participates in the training of law enforcement departments and is called upon for assists in the search for missing children, the elderly and the disabled.

Financial support comes from special events, sponsorship, private, corporate donations, state and federal funding. Appropriations from each state are used to help maintain the program in that state.  Please consider ACIM in your funding program.

A Child Is Missing, Inc. is an Alert & Recovery Center, a non-profit organization that assists law enforcement in the early search and recovery of missing children, the elderly (often with Alzheimer's or Dementia, the disabled (often with Autism or Down Syndrome), on-campus college students, and other vulnerable populations, in the first hours of the search. We are available 24/7, 365. To date we have over 1600 safe-assisted recoveries. We are a Citizen-Based, Public/ Private Partnership with No Jurisdictional Restraints. We provide Educational Awareness and Prevention Programs for at-risk youth, other high-risk populations and the general public, and train law enforcement officers nationwide.


Our Program (an overview)

If your child goes missing, CALL 9-1-1 FIRST!

ACIM can place 1,000 calls in sixty seconds, can process multiple cases simultaneously, and can work without jurisdictional boundaries. ACIM success stories abound

ACIM also has a sexual predator / offender program, offered in states that allow law enforcement to notify residents that a predator has moved into their neighborhood.

Please be sure to advise your Public Information Officer about ACIM involvement in searches. This makes for good public relations with the community as the public is made aware that your agency is utilizing all resources possible to ensure their safety

The Program Offers:

1. Educational programs on child safety and parental awareness.

2. Law enforcement training and refreshers; training videos and brochures.

3. A Child Is Missing media kits including video footage for TV spots upon request.

4. An ACIM Speakers Bureau to enhance community involvement.

5. Sexual Predator Adult  Education Awareness Program

6. Child Abduction Response Team C.A.R.T.

SAT Photo

Keeping up with technology is of utmost importance at A Child Is Missing. In order to have a faster search time and more definitive results we have acquired a satellite imaging program that allows our technicians geographic data of a specific area that could make a critical difference in a search for a missing child.

Moments after putting in an address, an aerial view of the region is seen, complete with street names, local landmarks, type of terrain, business listings, restaurants, schools, water, parks, bus and train stations and more. It allows the technician to intuitively grasp distance, scale, proximity, and know the region as a whole. All of this information could prove invaluable when evaluating a missing child scenario. Armed with this tool, “hotspots” can be identified: areas to where a missing child might gravitate. A child’s curiosity might lead them to a lake. A wandering pre-teen on a cold evening might seek the warmth and camouflage of a fast food restaurant. Further, the technician can seamlessly follow a likely path of a missing child or elderly and reasonably project a best instance “finder zone” when expanding a regional search.

To further enhance the use of this tool, it is strongly encouraged that law enforcement agencies forward to ACIM any specific group of phone numbers of places in their area that might be a “hotspot” for children or elderly to frequent. Some examples are Boys & Girls Clubs, hospital emergency room numbers, elderly and children’s day care centers, local search groups and any combination of phone numbers to aid in the search of a child in your community.

The following steps are taken in using ACIM's Alert Program:

A person calls the police department to report a missing child, elderly or disabled person.

The police department then calls A Child Is Missing on a toll-free number.

ACIM takes all pertinent information, including but not limited to:

  • Name of law enforcement agency
  • City, county and state of agency
  • Name of person missing
  • Date of Birth
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Height and Weight
  • Hair and Eye color
  • Clothing description
  • Any scars or other physical characteristics
  • Any medical/psychological conditions to be aware of
  • Home address including zip code
  • Location last seen with zip code if different than residence
  • Police department phone number for the public to call to report information
  • Case # or Reference # assigned to the case
  • If there is water or wooded areas in the vicinity
  • Have friends and family been contacted
  • Has the person gone missing before
  • Is there foul play, kidnapping or parental abduction suspected
  • If the missing is a child, is the agency aware of any sexual predators within 1 mile of the last seen address

A Child Is Missing also requests a cell or beeper number to reach the officer on the scene for additional information.

ACIM then makes a recorded message with the information that has been supplied.

The location last seen is entered into the computer and a database of phone numbers of the residents/businesses is gathered. The message is then sent out to the community.

When a child is reported missing near water, the immediate area is canvassed with the message, then the search area is expanded if the child has not been found.

ACIM continues to work with the officer on the scene and/or the communications department until the missing person has been found.

After recovery, the agency calls ACIM to stop the search. ACIM then faxes a case follow-up form to the officer/agency to be filled out, documenting the conclusion of the case. The agency then faxes the form back to ACIM. This documentation assists ACIM in obtaining funding to continue offering their services to law enforcement.

Contact Us

A Child Is Missing Headquarters
500 SE 17th St, # 101, Ft Lauderdale, FL 33316
Phone: (954) 763-1288, toll-free: 888-875-2246, fax: (954) 763-4569

  Founder/Executive Director
Sherry Friedlander
Phone:  (954) 763-1288
Cell:  (954) 605-9123 (In Case of Emergency ONLY)
Director of Operations
Kari Jimenez
Phone:  (954) 763-1288
  Child Safety Education Coordinator
Naima Gamble
Phone: (954) 763-1288
© Copyright 2011 A Child Is Missing
a 501c (3) - 990 - nonprofit corporation
Our Form 990 or the Financial Statement Is Here
Please contact (954) 763-1288for more information.
We will be happy to assist you in getting any information you need aboutA Child Is Missing Alert Program.