LAKEWOOD | An Aurora fifth-grade student’s art work represented Colorado in the recent National Missing Child Day campaign.

Emilina Varga last month submitted the winning poster that would represent the state for the National Missing Children’s Day poster contest, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Varga, from the AXL Academy in Aurora, submitted a colorful poster featuring a child holding a teddy bear while family and friends mourn the missing child. Colorado’s winning artwork was part of the department’s national poster contest held in late April and, though Varga’s poster was tops in the state, it was not selected as the nation’s winner.

“Making the decision to determine the winning poster in Colorado was an extremely difficult task,” CBI Director Michael Rankin said in a statement. “In addition to Emilina’s detailed artwork, her accompanying essay discussing the importance of reuniting families around the globe is a powerful statement about this critical issue.”

The host agencies commemorate organizations and individuals who bring missing children home. The state’s top-three winners were honored at events in May.

Tens of thousands of children are reported missing in the U.S. each year, according to a recent release from CBI. Law enforcement, citizens and even children have been instrumental in keeping children safe and returning them home to their families, communities and schools, they said.

Colorado law enforcement received nearly 9,000 reports of missing children in 2016. The reports were primarily for runaways, and were resolved within a few days or weeks. As of Jan. 1, 2017, there were 118 cases of long-term missing  juvenile cases(three years or more) still active in Colorado, according to the bureau.