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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Safety Tips

Have a SAFE & HAPPY Halloween with these SAFETY TIPS!
Another important Halloween Safety Tip: On average, twice as many child pedestrians are killed while walking on Halloween as compared with other days of the year. The risk of a child being hit by a car is roughly four times higher on Halloween as any other night. Children (and Teens!) have scattered attention spans on this night due to all of the excitement. They need to be reminded about crossing the road safely and be sure to have some kind of reflective lighting and flash light with them if they are participating after dark!  
Be Safe! 
Click on the poster to print copies for your family & community.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Never Give Up: Child Found After 15 Years

A father's search for his biological son ended when a Georgia detective called to tell him about a teenage boy police say was confined to his bedroom for years with little food.

It all began when he arrived home from work one day 15 years ago, Tony Wawrzynski’s life was changed forever.

The Arizona home he shared with his girlfriend and 3-year-old son was empty. A baby bed and toys were left behind, but there was no energetic toddler grabbing at his leg.

“She’ll come back. She always does,” Wawrzynski, now 45, told himself.

When he received a phone call last week from a Georgia detective, everything suddenly changed again.

The “Mitch” he had searched for tirelessly for so long was the teenage victim at the center of a horrific abuse case. His Mitch was Mitch Comer, an 18-year-old allegedly locked away inside his home for several years at the hands of his mother and stepfather, and then put on a bus to California. Days after turning 18, Mitch weighed 87 pounds when he was found wandering in a Los Angeles bus station and was stopped by a former security guard, who took him to police.

In an interview Wednesday night with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Wawrzynski, who says he is Mitch Comer’s biological father who hadn't seen his son since the boy was 3 years old, said until last week he hadn’t heard about a teenager held hostage in his home, deprived of adequate food and medical attention. Now, he can’t hold back the tears when he thinks about the abuse investigators believe his son endured.

Because he was so young when his mother left with him in tow, Mitch may not know anything about his father, Wawrzynski says. But he could never forget the little boy who never wanted to leave his side.
“How much of that he remembers, I don’t know,” Wawrzynski said. “What he’s been through … what he’s been through I can’t imagine he remembers much.”

What Mitch has been through allegedly includes abuse that his mother and stepfather, Sheila and Paul Comer, viewed as punishment for unruly behavior, according to their attorneys. Since their arrests at their rental home near Dallas on Sept. 12, the Comers have remained in the Paulding County jail without bond. On Monday, a grand jury indicted the couple on 10 charges, including seven counts of cruelty to children.
All of the alleged abuse could have been prevented, Wawrzynski says, if Mitch’s mother had returned the boy to him like he asked through letters never answered. It was one of those letters that investigators found in the Comers’ home that led Paulding deputies to Wawrzynski.

But letters weren’t the only way in which Wawrzynski tried for years to find his son. Numerous Internet searches and a private investigator cost money and turned up nothing, he said. Sheila changed her name and she and Paul moved dozens of times in recent years, investigators have said.

Wawrzynski, an engineer in Reno, Nev., is also the father of two young sons. He says a Paulding investigator plans to have him undergo a DNA test to legally prove he is Mitch’s father. But the same investigator says Mitch is the smaller image of his dad.

Wawrzynski says Paul Comer is no stranger to him, either. He never knew him well, but Wawrzynski said he and Sheila previously worked with Paul Comer in Arizona. But he says he never imagined Comer would become his son’s stepfather.

“It’s been really hard on me, I mean, me and Mitch when he was a baby, we were really close,” Wawrzynski said. “We were inseparable. When Mitch was a baby, I was the one that fed him. I was the one that changed his diapers.”

He isn’t sure yet when he’ll have the opportunity to reunite with Mitch, who is in the care of a family in Paulding County. But he is eager for Mitch to learn how much he has been missed.

Through Facebook, Wawrzynski has found strangers who also want the best for Mitch, and says he’s overwhelmed by others’ desire to help. A fund has been set up at WestSide Bank in Hiram to benefit the teenager. And several in the Paulding community are planning a large fundraiser event for Nov. 10 at Taylor Farm Park near Powder Springs. Wawrzynski said he hopes to make the trip to Georgia to attend the fundraising event. Hopefully then he’ll see the son he’s missed for 15 years.

“I definitely want some time for us to be able to talk and for him to get to know me,” Wawrzynski said. “My hopes are definitely that I’m gonna have my son back.”

A grand jury has indicted the teen's stepfather, Paul, and mother, Sheila Comer, on charges of cruelty to children, false imprisonment and kidnapping.


[Source: WRBL & AJC]

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Can You Help With Office Space?

Located in the Silicon Valley (CA)? Like supporting the community? Like protecting children? Like tax write offs?
Do you have spare office space? Well then, contact CQI as we are looking to relocate in the Santa Clara Valley AKA Silicon Valley. Ideally, we would love to be with other NPO's, children services, or law enforcement agencies. But we're not really that picky. We would be happy just about anywhere! 
Feel free to contact us at 408-287-4673 if you have properties that fit our criteria. Otherwise, please pass this along if you think you can help. Thank you for your support. -Child Quest International

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Missing Children: Federal Statutes

Federal Statutes: These federal statutes may be helpful to missing children cases under various circumstances. For further details, consult with your local attorney or legal aid.

If you are the parent or family member of a missing child and need assistance on the location and recovery of your child, please call our TOLL-FREE HOTLINE FOR ASSISTANCE 1-888-818-HOPE (4673). 

Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA), 9 ULA at 123
The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (1968) creates guidelines to avoid jurisdictional competition and conflict with courts of other states in matters of child custody, promote cooperation with the courts of other states, and facilitate the enforcement of custody decrees of other states. 

The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), 9 ULA at 115 (part1)
This is a complete description of the uniform state law that replaces the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act. Almost every state has adopted the UCCJEA since it became available in 1997, the rest are considering it, and in all likelihood the UCCJEA will become the law of every state and the District of Columbia within a few years. It governs jurisdiction in interstate custody and visitation cases, requires interstate enforcement and non-modification of sister-state custody orders, and authorizes public officials to play a role in civil child custody enforcement and cases involving the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. 

Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act
The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (1974) has been amended numerous times; however, the overall purposes remain the same, including to provide technical assistance to public and private nonprofit juvenile-justice and delinquency-prevention programs, establish training programs for persons who work with delinquents or potential delinquents or whose work or activities relate to juvenile-delinquency programs, establish a federal assistance program to deal with the problems of runaway and homeless youth, and assist states and local communities to prevent youth from entering the justice system.  

Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (1980) establishes procedures to ensure the prompt return of children wrongfully removed to or retained in a country other than that of their habitual residence. 

International Child Abduction Remedies Act, 42 USC 11601 et seq.
The International Child Abduction Remedies Act (1988) implements the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and authorizes state and federal courts to hear cases under the Convention. 

Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (PKPA), 28 USC 1738 A
The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act (1980) assures that full faith and credit is given to child-custody determinations. States may honor and enforce custody determinations made in other states as long as certain requirements listed by the Act are satisfied.   

Missing Children Act, 28 USC 534
The Missing Children Act (1982) authorizes the Attorney General to collect and exchange information that would assist in the identification of unidentified deceased individuals and the location of missing persons, including missing children. 

Missing Children's Assistance Act, 42 USC 5771
The Missing Children's Assistance Act (1984) directs the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to establish and operate a national toll-free telephone line for missing children and a national resource center and clearinghouse. 

National Child Search Assistance Act, 42 USC 5779-80
The National Child Search Assistance Act of 1990 requires each federal, state, and local law-enforcement agency to enter information about missing children younger than the age of 18 into the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.1 The Act also establishes state reporting requirements. 

Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (2006) amended a portion of the National Child Search Assistance Act to mandate law enforcement entry of information about missing and abducted children into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database within two hours of receipt of the report.  

International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act (IPKCA), 18 USC 1204
The International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act of 1993 makes it a federal crime to remove a child from the United States or retain a child, who has been in the United States, outside the United States with the intent to obstruct the lawful exercise of parental rights. 

Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, 42 USC 14071
The Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (1994) prescribes a 10-year registration requirement for offenders convicted of sexually violent offenses or criminal offenses against a victim who is a minor. Sexually violent predators have additional registration requirements. 

Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today Act
The Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003, otherwise known as the PROTECT Act, gives law-enforcement authorities valuable tools to deter, detect, investigate, prosecute, and punish crimes committed against children; strengthens laws against child pornography; and addresses deficiencies in federal sentencing policies and practices. Provisions that relate specifically to missing or abducted children include an increase in the base-offense level for kidnapping; a mandatory 20-year sentence for an offender whose kidnapping victim is a nonfamily-member minor; attempt liability for international parental kidnapping; Suzanne's Law, which requires each federal, state, and local law-enforcement agency to enter information about missing children younger than the age of 21 into the FBI's NCIC database; America's Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response (AMBER) Alert provisions calling for the national coordination of state and local AMBER Alert programs, including the appointment of a national AMBER Alert coordinator2 and the development of guidelines for the issuance and dissemination of AMBER Alerts; a Code ADAM program that requires designated authorities for public buildings to establish procedures for locating a child who is missing in the building;3 and making the statute of limitations for crimes involving the abduction of a child the life of the child.

1The PROTECT Act has amended this provision of the National Child Search Assistance Act of 1990.
2 Deborah Daniels, an Assistant Attorney General with the Office of Justice Programs, was named coordinator by the Attorney General John Ashcroft on October 2, 2002.
3 "Public building" means any building, or portion thereof, owned or leased for use by the federal government. 

  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Child Quest International Announces AMBER Alert GPS Partnership



Missing Children Agency Unites with Child Safety Products Leader to Fund Education Programs for Kids and Parents.

FOR A LIMITED TIME, ENJOY 85% OFF PURCHASE PRICE!

San Jose, California   Child Quest International (CQI), a 501(c)3 dedicated to the prevention and recovery of missing, abused and exploited children has partnered with Amber Alert GPS, a leader in the child safety space.  As of October 1, 2012, CQI will offer two Amber Alert GPS products to its constituents at a discount with proceeds benefitting the CQI mission of providing education programs for child safety.

As a result of Child Quest International (CQI) education programs, many children have been successful in avoiding or escaping abduction attempts.  CQI programs teach children to use proven safety strategies and respond with assertiveness in the face of an attempted abduction. CQI has long been teaching children how to avoid and escape many potentially dangerous situations as well as a possible kidnapping.   

Today, CQI is happy to announce a partnership that provides an additional safeguard to parents.  CQI will make the Amber Alert GPS device and My Child ID available through their website, with a portion of the proceeds earmarked to support CQI’s mission. An important endeavor since CQI never charges a fee for assisting in the location and recovery of missing children.  “We’re excited about the partnership,” said CQI Executive Director, Marcia Slacke.  “While nothing will ever replace open communications and teaching your child what to do if or when they encounter danger, we can now at least give parents greater peace of mind.” The Amber Alert GPS device allows parents to keep track of their children via phone or computer, sending location updates of the child’s location, every five minutes.  The device, which is integrated with the National Sex Offender database, alerts parents when their child is within 500 feet of a registered sex offender’s residence.  The Amber Alert GPS also features a two way calling and SOS button, enabling kids to have an easy and safe way to get a hold of parents if they feel in danger.

In addition, CQI will also offer the My Child ID software.  The information management software helps parents and other caregivers securely manage and store vital information, critical in the event of an emergency.  My Child ID puts information at the fingertips of parents and caregivers.

“We believe in the Child Quest International mission – we are like minded, motivated by the desire to keep children and families safe,” says Carol Colombo, CEO of Amber Alert GPS.  “While the statistics on missing children can be overwhelming, adds Colombo, “our mission is to focus on being proactive and giving parents and caregiver’s the tools they need to safeguard their children.”  In addition to their line of commercial products, Amber Alert GPS supports the U.S. AMBER Alert Program through technology, providing the Law Enforcement Alerting Portal – or LEAP, to state AMBER Alert Programs for the issuance of AMBER Alerts, at no cost.

“We look forward to our partnership with Amber Alert GPS,” said Anthony Gonzalez of CQI, “we know that working together we can get more done to protect children.  We invite everyone to our website at www.childquest.org to learn more about the product and educational programs.”
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Child Quest International is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to the prevention and recovery of missing, exploited, and runaway children. Since inception in 1990, Child Quest has assisted in the recovery of over 3,000 individuals.  CQI services are offered free of charge to law enforcement, victims and their families. www.childquest.org 1-888-818-HOPE 
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Award winning Amber Alert GPS, Inc. is a Utah based provider of mobile tracking and safety solutions for children and families. The company’s founder, Russ Thornton, was motivated to develop the Amber Alert GPS device after a harrowing incident when he lost his young son for 45 minutes at an amusement park. The experience inspired him to develop a product that would not only prevent such incidents from happening, but provide a quick resolution in the event a child did go missing. Amber Alert GPS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alert GPS Holdings, Corp. For more information, visit: www.amberalertgps.com.  The AMBER Alert Program is coordinated nationally by the U.S. Department of Justice and does not endorse this or any other commercial product; see www.amberalert.gov for details.