Child Find Saskatchewan ends operation after 37 years of helping find missing kids

·3 min read
Child Find Saskatchewan says the organization had a 75 per cent recovery rate over its 37 years of operation. It stopped day-to-day operations as of Oct. 29. (Muhammad Amin/Shutterstock - image credit)
Child Find Saskatchewan says the organization had a 75 per cent recovery rate over its 37 years of operation. It stopped day-to-day operations as of Oct. 29. (Muhammad Amin/Shutterstock - image credit)

After 37 years of service, a Saskatchewan charity dedicated to helping find missing children has closed its doors for good.

"Closing was not an easy decision to make and we did not make it lightly," Child Find Saskatchewan said in a recent update on its website.

The global pandemic played a big role in the decision to shut down operations on Oct. 29, 2021, the last president of the organization told CBC.

"We're not able to get out and deliver our programs the way we were before," said Phyllis Hallatt.

"It's just time. There's so many other organizations doing some of our programs…. There is not a need the way there was 37 years ago for us."

Recruiting new members to join the organization's board has also been an issue, Hallatt said.

Reuniting families

From posters of missing children to events, educational programs and ads in newspapers, the charity has been dedicated to helping families reunite with missing kids.

The organization also helped in the delivery of the Amber Alert program, according to the Child Find Saskatchewan website.

Hallatt herself became involved with Child Find Saskatchewan over 34 years ago.

"I thought I had made it pretty clear I was doing the accounting only," she said.

"That lasted about five minutes, I think."

Child Find Saskatchewan/YouTube
Child Find Saskatchewan/YouTube

Soon, the Saskatoon woman was doing far more for the charity than keeping its books.

She started carrying a pager, answering phone calls and doing interviews, and eventually became the charity's president.

"I just got deeper and deeper and deeper into it," said Hallatt. "I really enjoyed what I was doing."

Despite more than three decades of service, she still remembers some of the cases Child Find Saskatchewan has helped with over the years.

"We have found children after 12 years, 17-and-a-half years," she said.

"The last one was a couple of years ago, and that little boy has been gone for 31 years. So those are the things that renew your confidence."

In an interview published on the Child Find Saskatchewan website, Hallatt said the organization had a 75 per cent recovery rate over the years.

While it is rewarding to help families find their missing children, Child Find Saskatchewan couldn't always deliver good news.

Cases where they discovered a missing person had died were "the hard ones," Hallatt said.

"But at least it gives the parents a starting [point] to deal with what has happened to the child."

While Child Find Saskatchewan has come to an end, the organization hasn't dropped everything from one day to the next.

Its website will be in service for at least another year, and emails and letters will be checked, Hallatt said.

"We're trying to cover as much as we can without actually doing the day-to-day operations."

On its website, Child Find Saskatchewan refers people in need of assistance regarding a missing child to MissingKids.ca, a national program of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

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