Mistakenly, most parents assume an alert will automatically be issued should their child go missing. In fact, less than 500 AMBER Alerts have been issued nationwide in the history of the alert system. Some states, Alaska and Vermont only recently activated their first ever alerts.
The Child Alert Center was started in order to fill the void for those missing children who possibly won’t qualify for an AMBER Alert but need critical information distributed immediately. The service supplements the search efforts for those who do. Parents proactively register their child’s data in an affordable web-based registry that increases the chances of bringing a missing child home.
By securely storing photographs and identifying information about your child, in the case of an emergency, our child safety specialists in a timely manner contact resources nationwide to distribute the information and photos, in the form of a poster to aid in search efforts. In minutes, Child Alert Center can provide critical information to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies so they in turn can search more effectively for a missing child.
The goal is not to compete with the AMBER Alert system but to compliment it by providing information to volunteer groups, national child-protective organizations, and local and national news media so searchers can find a missing child as soon as possible whether or not an alert is activated.
View this video from Sgt. Jimmy Giammarinaro , a 16-year veteran of Law Enforcement, to learn more about the need for such a service.
All 50 states now have statewide AMBER Alert plans, creating a network of plans nationwide to aid in the recovery of abducted children.
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So what does that mean? Simply, there is no centralized AMBER Alert registry for your child so that an alert can be activated. You can however proactively register with the Child Alert Center which could shorten the time needed to collect your child’s vital information. Authorities still have to collect the child’s information and determine if their disappearance meets the criteria. Every successful AMBER plan contains clearly defined recommended activation criteria.
Summary of Department of Justice Recommended Criteria
- There is reasonable belief by law enforcement that an abduction has occurred.
- The law enforcement agency believes that the child is in imminent danger of serious bodily injury or death.
- There is enough descriptive information about the victim and the abduction for law enforcement to issue an AMBER Alert to assist in the recovery of the child.
- The abduction is of a child aged 17 years or younger.
- The child’s name and other critical data elements, including the Child Abduction flag, have been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) system.
AMBER Alerts are issued for abducted children when the situation meets the AMBER Alert criteria. When a child is missing, law enforcement can act swiftly to help recover the child, by developing search and rescue teams or by bringing dogs to the scene to track the scent. AMBER Alert is only one tool that law enforcement can use to find abducted children. AMBER Alerts should be reserved for those cases that meet the AMBER criteria.
Overuse of AMBER Alert could result in the public becoming desensitized to Alerts when they are issued.
Most state’s guidelines adhere closely to Department of Justice (DOJ) recommended guidelines.
Note: Ninety percent of the 311 AMBER Alert recoveries have occurred since AMBER Alert became a nationally coordinated effort in 2002.