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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

AMBER Alert Dilemma

Houston, we have a problem.... There have been numerous issues with state specific AMBER Alert system guidelines and usage in the recent months.  Unfortunately, as good as AMBER Alert is, this has been a long standing dilemma for victims, left-behind families, and the communities it was designed to help.

Uniform guidelines & criteria are the biggest issues facing missing children with regards to the AMBER Alert program. NOT EVERY STATE follows the same criteria & guidelines vary. These very aspects themselves need to be reviewed so that the "system" has the a victims best interest in mind. We, as a community, need to petition state and federal legislation to create a NATIONWIDE AMBER Alert Program with a uniform & consistent criteria to help protect kids.

This problem is further compounded when you add in the public awareness side of the program. On the National Center For Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) "Active AMBER Alert" website, the "official" website of AMBER Alert for missing children, it only list active AMBER Alerts for 10 days.  When in fact, active alerts are still active if the child has not been recovered within those ten days.  How is this a service with the victim's best interest in mind?  It's not.  From our perspective, this is a disservice to the missing person and their family as well as the community in which these alerts serve.

Fortunately, their is a great website that is picking up the slack (in addition to Child Quest International).  AmberAlert.com keeps active AMBER Alerts posted well after the 10 days that NCMEC keeps them posted.  While we continue to share information on active AMBER Alerts and all missing children, be sure to check your states AMBER plan http://www.amberalert.gov/state_contacts.htm

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