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Mrs. BIGGERT. I thank the gentleman for yielding. And, Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my strong support for H.R. 2517, the Protecting Our Children Comes First Act of 2007. I was very pleased to be a cosponsor of this important bill which reauthorizes the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children through fiscal year 2013.
I would like to take a moment to thank my fellow cochair of the Congressional Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus and sponsor of the bill, Representative Lampson, for his hard work on child protection issues, and Chairwoman McCarthy for her work in leading this bill through the committee.
It seems like every time I open the newspaper, I read another story of a child that has been abducted or has been sexually abused by a sexual predator. Naperville, Illinois, in my district, a city that has twice been voted by Money Magazine as the top city in the nation to raise children, has alone experienced over 30 cases in the last 4 years involving online sexual solicitation of a child. Clearly, more can and must be done on this issue. This problem is not regional. It is not isolated to big cities. It is not isolated to rural communities. This is a real national problem that will not go away until we give organizations like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children the tools and the resources they need to fulfill their mission and protect our children from current and emerging threats.
Since authorized by Congress in 1984, NCMEC has been extremely successful in this mission. In fact, NCMEC has received nearly 2.3 million telephone calls, printed and distributed nearly 43 million publications, trained 231,000 law enforcement, criminal justice, and health professionals, worked more than 136,000 missing children cases, and, perhaps most importantly, played a role in reuniting more than 118,700 children with their families. In fact, the National Center's child recovery rate is an impressive 96.3 percent.
For generations, the message was simple. Parents told their children that they should never talk to strangers. My parents told me and I told my children. But times have changed. There are more threats to our children today, and our message must change with technology. Similarly the role of the National Center has changed.
This is why we need this bill passed on the floor today, to expand the National Center's congressionally mandated mission to include recent enhancements in technology and give them the resources to address these and other protective issues.
I urge my colleagues to support this bill.
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