CHAPTER 49. CHILD WELFARE.
WVC 49 - 6 -
ARTICLE 6. MISSING CHILDREN INFORMATION ACT.
WVC 49 - 6 - 101
§49-6-101. Clearinghouse function; State Police requirements;
(a) The Missing Children Information Clearinghouse is
established under the West Virginia State Police. The State Police:
(1) Shall provide for the administration of the clearinghouse;
(2) May promulgate rules in accordance with article three,
chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to carry out the provisions of
(b) The clearinghouse is a central repository of information
on missing children and shall be used by all law-enforcement
agencies in this state.
(c) The clearinghouse shall:
(1) Establish a system of intrastate communication of
information relating to missing children;
(2) Provide a centralized file for the exchange of information
on missing children and unidentified bodies of children within the
(3) Communicate with the National Crime Information Center for
the exchange of information on missing children suspected of
(4) Collect, process, maintain and disseminate accurate and
complete information on missing children;
(5) Provide a statewide toll-free telephone line for the
reporting of missing children and for receiving information on missing children;
(6) Disseminate to custodians, law-enforcement agencies, the
state Department of Education, the Bureau for Children and Families
and the general public information that explains how to prevent
child abduction and what to do if a child becomes missing;
(7) Compile statistics relating to the incidence of missing
children within the state;
(8) Provide training materials and technical assistance to
law-enforcement agencies and social services agencies pertaining to
missing children; and
(9) Establish a media protocol for disseminating information
pertaining to missing children.
(d) The clearinghouse shall print and distribute posters,
flyers and other forms of information containing descriptions of
(e) The State Police may accept public or private grants,
gifts and donations to assist in carrying out the provisions of
WVC 49 - 6 - 102
§49-6-102. State Department of Education; missing children
(a) The State Department of Education shall develop and
administer a program for the location of missing children who may
be enrolled in the West Virginia school system, including private
schools, and for the reporting of children who may be missing or
who may be unlawfully removed from schools.
(b) The program shall include the use of information received
from the clearinghouse and shall be coordinated with the operations
of the clearinghouse.
(c) The State Board of Education may promulgate rules in
accordance with article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code
for the operation of the program and shall require the
participation of all school districts and state-accredited private
schools in this state.
WVC 49 - 6 - 103
§49-6-103. Information to clearinghouse.
Every law-enforcement agency in West Virginia shall provide to
the clearinghouse any information the law-enforcement agency has
that would assist in locating or identifying a missing child.
WVC 49 - 6 - 104
§49-6-104. Custodian request for information.
(a) Upon written request made to a law-enforcement agency by
the custodian of a missing child, the law-enforcement agency shall
request from the clearinghouse information concerning the child
that may aid the custodian in locating or identifying the child.
(b) A law-enforcement agency to which a request has been made
pursuant to subsection (a) of this section shall report to the
custodian on the results of its inquiry within fourteen calendar
days after the day the written request is received by the
WVC 49 - 6 - 105
§49-6-105. Missing child report forms; where filed.
(a) The clearinghouse shall distribute missing child report
forms to law-enforcement agencies in the state.
(b) A missing child report may be made to a law-enforcement
agency in person or by telephone or other indirect method of
communication and the person taking the report may enter the
information on the form for the reporter. A missing child report
form may be completed by the reporter and delivered to a
(c) A copy of the missing child report form shall be filed
with the clearinghouse.
WVC 49 - 6 - 106
§49-6-106. Missing child reports; law-enforcement agency
requirements; unidentified bodies.
(a) A law-enforcement agency, upon receiving a missing child
(1) Immediately start an investigation to determine the
present location of the child if it determines that the child is in
(2) Enter the name of the missing child into the clearinghouse
and the national crime information center missing person file if
the child meets the center's criteria, with all available
identifying features, including dental records, fingerprints, other
physical characteristics and a description of the clothing worn
when the missing child was last seen.
(b) Information not immediately available shall be obtained as
soon as possible by the law-enforcement agency and entered into the
clearinghouse and the national crime information center file as a
supplement to the original entry.
(c) All West Virginia law-enforcement agencies shall enter
information about all unidentified bodies of children found in
their jurisdiction into the clearinghouse and the national crime
information center unidentified person file, including all
available identifying features of the body and a description of the
clothing found on the body. If an information entry into the
national crime information center file results in an automatic
entry of the information into the clearinghouse, the law-enforcement agency is not required to make a direct entry of
that information into the clearinghouse.
WVC 49 - 6 - 107
§49-6-107. Release of dental records; cause shown; immunity.
(a) At the time a missing child report is made, the
law-enforcement agency to which the missing child report is given
may, when feasible and appropriate, provide a dental record release
form to the parent, custodian, health care surrogate or other legal
entity authorized to release the dental records of the missing
child. The law-enforcement agency shall endorse the dental record
release form with a notation that a missing child report has been
made in compliance with this article. When the dental record
release form is properly completed by the parent, custodian, health
care surrogate or other legal entity authorized to release the
dental records of the missing child and contains the endorsement,
the form is sufficient to permit a dentist or physician in this
state to release dental records relating to the missing child to
the law-enforcement agency.
(b) A circuit court judge may for good cause shown authorize
the release of dental records of a missing child to a
(c) A law-enforcement agency which receives dental records
under subsection (a) or (b) of this section shall send the dental
records to the clearinghouse.
(d) A dentist or physician who releases dental records to a
person presenting a proper release executed or ordered pursuant to
this section is immune from civil liability or criminal prosecution
for the release of the dental records.
WVC 49 - 6 - 108
§49-6-108. Cross-checking and matching.
(a) The clearinghouse shall, in accordance with national crime
information center policies and procedures, cross-check and attempt
to match unidentified bodies with descriptions of missing children.
When the clearinghouse discovers a possible match between an
unidentified body and a missing child description, the
clearinghouse shall notify the appropriate law-enforcement
(b) A law-enforcement agency that receives notice of a
possible match shall make arrangements for positive identification.
If a positive identification is made, the law-enforcement agency
shall complete and close the investigation with notification to the
WVC 49 - 6 - 109
§49-6-109. Interagency cooperation.
(a) State agencies and public and private schools shall
cooperate with a law-enforcement agency that is investigating a
missing child report and shall furnish any information, including
confidential information, that will assist the law-enforcement
agency in completing the investigation.
(b) Information provided by a state agency or a public or
private school may not be released to any person outside the
law-enforcement agency or the clearinghouse, except as provided by
rules of the West Virginia State Police.
WVC 49 - 6 - 110
§49-6-110. Confidentiality of records; rule-making; requirements.
(a) The State Police shall promulgate rules according to
article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to provide for
the classification of information and records as confidential that:
(1) Are otherwise confidential under state or federal law or
rules promulgated pursuant to state or federal law;
(2) Are related to the investigation by a law-enforcement
agency of a missing child or an unidentified body, if the State
Police, in consultation with the law-enforcement agency, determines
that release of the information would be deleterious to the
(3) Are records or notations that the clearinghouse maintains
for internal use in matters relating to missing children and
unidentified bodies and the State Police determines that release of
the internal documents might interfere with an investigation by a
law-enforcement agency in West Virginia or any other jurisdiction;
(4) Are records or information that the State Police
determines might interfere with an investigation or otherwise harm
a child or custodian.
(b) The rules may provide for the sharing of confidential
information with the custodian of the missing child.
WVC 49 - 6 - 111
§49-6-111. Attorney general to require compliance.
The Attorney General shall require each law-enforcement agency
to comply with the provisions of the Missing Children Information
Act and may seek writs of mandamus or other appropriate remedies to
enforce this article.
WVC 49 - 6 - 112
§49-6-112. Agencies to receive report; law-enforcement agency
(a) Upon completion of the missing child report the
law-enforcement agency shall immediately forward the contents of
the report to the missing children information clearinghouse and
the national crime information center's missing person file.
However, if an information entry into the national crime
information center file results in an automatic entry of the
information into the clearinghouse, the law-enforcement agency is
not required to make a direct entry of that information into the
(b) Within fifteen days after completion of the report, if the
child is less than thirteen years of age the law-enforcement agency
may, when appropriate, forward the contents of the report to the
(1) Child care center or child care home in which the child
was enrolled; or
(2) School the child attended in West Virginia, if any.
(c) A law-enforcement agency involved in the investigation of
a missing child shall:
(1) Update the initial report filed by the agency that
received notification of the missing child upon the discovery of
new information concerning the investigation;
(2) Forward the updated report to the appropriate agencies and
(3) Search the national crime information center's wanted
person file for reports of arrest warrants issued for persons who
allegedly abducted or unlawfully retained children and compare
these reports to the missing child's national crime information
center's missing person file; and
(4) Notify all law-enforcement agencies involved in the
investigation, the missing children information clearinghouse, and
the national crime information center when the missing child is
WVC 49 - 6 - 113
§49-6-113. Clearinghouse Advisory Council; members, appointments
and expenses; appointment, duties and compensation
of director; annual reports.
(a) The Clearinghouse Advisory Council is continued as a body
corporate and politic, constituting a public corporation and
government instrumentality. The council shall consist of eleven
members, who are knowledgeable about and interested in issues
relating to missing or exploited children, as follows:
(1) Six members to be appointed by the Governor, with the
advice and consent of the Senate, with not more than four belonging
to the same political party, three being from different
congressional districts of the state and, as nearly as possible,
providing broad state geographical distribution of members of the
council, and at least one representing a nonprofit organization
involved with preventing the abduction, runaway or exploitation of
children or locating missing children;
(2) The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human
Resources or his or her designee;
(3) The Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police or
his or her designee;
(4) The State Superintendent of Schools or his or her
(5) The Director of the Criminal Justice and Highway Safety
Division or his or her designee; and
(6) The Commissioner of the Bureau for Children and Families or his or her designee.
(b) The Governor shall appoint the six council members for
staggered terms. The terms of the members first taking office on
or after the effective date of this legislation shall expire as
designated by the Governor. Each subsequent appointment shall be
for a full three-year term. Any appointed member whose term is
expired shall serve until a successor has been duly appointed and
qualified. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy may serve only
for the unexpired term. A member is eligible for only one
successive reappointment. A vacancy shall be filled by the
Governor in the same manner as the original appointment was made.
(c) Members of the council are not entitled to compensation
for services performed as members but are entitled to reimbursement
for all reasonable and necessary expenses actually incurred in the
performance of their duties in a manner consistent with the
guidelines of the Travel Management Office of the Department of
(d) A majority of serving members constitutes a quorum for the
purpose of conducting business. The chair of the council shall be
designated by the Governor from among the appointed council members
who represent nonprofit organizations involved with preventing the
abduction, runaway or exploitation of children or locating missing
children. The term of the chair shall run concurrently with his or
her term of office as a member of the council. The council shall
conduct all meetings in accordance with the open governmental meetings law pursuant to article nine-a, chapter six of this code.
(e) The employee of the West Virginia State Police who is
primarily responsible for the clearinghouse established by section
one hundred and one of this article shall serve as the executive
director of the council. He or she shall receive no additional
compensation for service as the executive director of the council
but shall be reimbursed for any reasonable and necessary expenses
actually incurred in the performance of his or her duties as
executive director in a manner consistent with the guidelines of
the travel management office of the Department of Administration.
(f) The expenses of council members and the executive director
shall be reimbursed from funds provided by foundation grants,
in-kind contributions or funds obtained pursuant to subsection (b),
section one hundred fifteen of this article.
(g) The executive director shall provide or obtain information
necessary to support the administrative work of the council and, to
that end, may contract with one or more nonprofit organizations or
state agencies for research and administrative support.
(h) The executive director of the council shall be available
to the Governor and to the Speaker of the House of Delegates and
the President of the Senate to analyze and comment upon proposed
legislation and rules which relate to or materially affect missing
or exploited children.
(i) The council shall prepare and publish an annual report of
its activities and accomplishments and submit it to the Governor and to the Joint Committee on Government and Finance on or before
December 15 of each year.
WVC 49 - 6 - 114
§49-6-114. Powers and duties of clearinghouse advisory council;
comprehensive strategic plan required to be
provided to the Legislature.
The council shall prepare a comprehensive strategic plan and
recommendation of programs in furtherance thereof that will support
efforts to prevent the abduction, runaway and exploitation, or any
thereof, of children to locate missing children; advise the West
Virginia State Police regarding operation of the clearinghouse and
its other responsibilities under this article; and cooperate with
and coordinate the efforts of state agencies and private
organizations involved with issues relating to missing or exploited
children. The council may seek public and private grants,
contracts, matching funds and procurement arrangements from the
state and federal government, private industry and other agencies
in furtherance of its mission and programs. An initial
comprehensive strategic plan that will support and foster efforts
to prevent the abduction, runaway and exploitation of children and
to locate missing children shall be developed and provided to the
Governor, the Speaker of the House of Delegates and the President
of the Senate no later than July 1, 2015, and shall include, but
not be limited to, the following:
(1) Findings and determinations regarding the extent of the
problem in this state related to: (A) Abducted children; (B)
runaway children; and (C) exploited children;
(2) Findings and determinations identifying the systems, both public and private, existing in the state to prevent the abduction,
runaway or exploitation of children and to locate missing children
and assessing the strengths and weaknesses of those systems and the
(3) The inclusion of exploited children within the functions
of the clearinghouse. For purposes of this article, an exploited
child is a person under the age of eighteen years who has been:
(A) Used in the production of pornography; (B) subjected to sexual
exploitation or sexual offenses under article eight-b, chapter
sixty-one of this code; or (C) employed or exhibited in any
injurious, immoral or dangerous business or occupation in violation
of sections five through eight, article eight, chapter sixty-one of
(4) Recommendations of legislative changes required to improve
the effectiveness of the clearinghouse and other efforts to prevent
abduction, runaway or exploitation of children and to locate
missing children. Those recommendations shall consider the
(A) Interaction of the clearinghouse with child custody
(B) Involvement of hospitals, child care centers and other
private agencies in efforts to prevent child abduction, runaway or
exploitation and to locate missing children;
(C) Publication of a directory of and periodic reports
regarding missing children;
(D) Required reporting by public and private agencies and
penalties for failure to report and false reporting;
(E) Removal of names from the list of missing children;
(F) Creating of an advocate for missing and exploited
(G) State funding for the clearinghouse and efforts to prevent
the abduction, runaway and exploitation of children and to locate
(H) Mandated involvement of state agencies, such as
publication of information regarding missing children in existing
state publications and coordination with the state registrar of
vital statistics under section twelve, article five, chapter
sixteen of this code; and
(I) Expanded requirement for boards of education to notify the
clearinghouse in addition to local law-enforcement agencies under
section five-c, article two, chapter eighteen of this code or if a
birth certificate or school record received appears to be
inaccurate or fraudulent and to receive clearinghouse approval
before releasing records;
(5) Methods that will coordinate and engender collaborative
efforts among organizations throughout the state, whether public or
private, involved with missing or exploited children;
(6) Plans for the use of technology in the clearinghouse and
other efforts related to missing or exploited children;
(7) Compliance of the clearinghouse, state law and all rules promulgated pursuant thereto with applicable federal law so as to
enhance opportunities for receiving federal grants;
(8) Consultation with the State Board of Education and other
agencies responsible for promulgating rules under this article;
(9) Possible methods for identifying missing children prior to
enrollment in a public or nonpublic school;
(10) The feasibility and effectiveness of utilizing the
federal parent locator service in locating missing children; and
(11) Programs for voluntary fingerprinting.
WVC 49 - 6 - 115
§49-6-115. Public-private partnerships; funding.
(a) In furtherance of its mission, the clearinghouse council
is authorized to enter into contracts or joint venture agreements
with federal and state agencies; with nonprofit corporations
organized pursuant to the corporate laws of this state or other
jurisdictions that are qualified under Section 501(c)(3) of the
Internal Revenue Code; and with other organizations that conduct
research, make grants, improve educational programs and work for
the prevention of missing or exploited children and to locate
missing children. All contracts and joint venture agreements must
be approved by a majority vote of the council. The council may
also enter into contractual agreements for consideration or
recompense to it even though the entities are funded from sources
other than the state. Members of the council are not prohibited
from sitting on the boards of directors of any contracting private
nonprofit corporation, foundation or firm. However, members of the
council are not exempt from chapter six-b of this code.
(b) The council shall solicit and is authorized to receive and
accept gifts or grants from private foundations, corporations,
individuals, devises and bequests or from other lawful sources.
The funds shall be paid into a special account in the State
Treasury for the use and benefit of the council.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.