The problem of missing children reached a breaking point when Etan Patz was abducted. The Missing Children Act of 1982 authorized the FBI to enter and maintain relevant information about missing children in the National Crime Information Center. Law enforcement from the Federal, State, and local levels are then able to access this information, providing a previously lacking resource for finding a missing child.
The Act also enables families to verify that the FBI is maintaining information about their missing children. The Missing Children Act of 1982 was the first of its kind that reassured parents of the effort being made to find their children. It addressed the growing issue of the American lost child by creating a system, still used today, that allowed parents and law enforcement to access a computer database aimed at locating missing people.