Remarks at a White House Meeting With a Group Concerned About Missing and Exploited Children

April 3, 1985

The President. I know the problem, of course, that brings us together -- missing and exploited children. And it's a major issue, I believe, in America today and a problem that can threaten every American family, rich or poor. And the possibility of a kidnaping or abuse to a child is one of the major fears that I think parents now face. So, each of you are here today because you're integrally involved in the missing and exploited children issue.

Just last May we launched the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to help address part of this issue. I know its success. And I'm pleased to see so many of the Board members, along with the Directors, here today. They have set up, among other things, a hotline where people can call in instantly. And, as I understand it, they've been getting about 225 calls a day.

Many of you here represent other major efforts, public and private, that can address these critical problems. But there's much more to be done, and I know that you've discussed ways of doing more.

So, I'm asking you today to form a new partnership for child safety. And this partnership can involve law enforcement organizations, school systems, community service groups, in coordination with the Attorney General and his offices at the Department of Justice. And I'd like to ask if you could report back to me in 3 weeks' time with your recommendations of how such a partnership should be structured. And I'll let you keep track of the calendar.

And it's my hope that this partnership can be launched so that every child in the country will have the opportunity to be safe and secure, and you're the people who will make it work. And you have my heartfelt thanks for what you're doing and what you continue to do.

Now, I understand we have a brief pause when the -- [inaudible].

Reporter. Mr. President, Senator Dole said that the budget is going to be a hard sell. What are you going to do to help sell it -- this compromise?

The President. What I always do -- sell. [Laughter]

Q. Is it going to be tough?

The President. Isn't it always?

Note: The President spoke at 2:01 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House.