January | February 2019

Justice Department and OJJDP Observe AMBER Alert Awareness Day

AMBER Alert logoOn January 13, 2019, the Department of Justice and OJJDP observed AMBER Alert Awareness Day to share information with the public about how to become engaged in the safe recovery of missing and abducted children.

The AMBER Alert program, which is managed by the Office of Justice Programs with the support of OJJDP, is active in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Indian country, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and 22 other countries.

Law enforcement issues AMBER Alerts, which include any available information about the child, abductor, or suspected vehicle used in the abduction, and specify the geographic area where the alert should be disseminated. Once issued, broadcasters and transportation agencies disseminate the alerts. They are also sent to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which resends the alerts to a network of secondary distributors that include Internet service providers, wireless carriers, and social media outlets. As of December 12, 2018, the program had been credited with the successful rescue of 934 children.

The AMBER Alert program also offers a range of training and technical assistance opportunities to support the coordination of search efforts and disseminate knowledge about the most effective strategies for recovering missing children. Training is available in a range of areas, including basic forensic responses to missing and abducted children, investigative strategies for child abduction cases, child abduction case studies, the implementation of Child Abduction Response Teams, and child sex trafficking in Indian country.

The AMBER Alert in Indian Country initiative was launched in 2007 to establish and expand child recovery practices, capacity, and resources in tribal communities The initiative includes training and technical assistance programs offered by tribal instructors, community child protection infrastructure assessments, national symposiums on tribal child protection, and the development of a Tribal Database website to provide a platform for the exchange of information among tribal communities.

In April 2018, President Donald Trump signed into law the Ashlynne Mike AMBER Alert in Indian Country Act, which gives tribes direct access to federal grants to improve AMBER Alert systems and provide additional training and technical assistance. The legislation was passed nearly 2 years after 11-year-old Ashlynne Mike was sexually assaulted and murdered on the Navajo Nation reservation in New Mexico. A recent article in the AMBER Advocate newsletter discusses how the AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance program administrator, Jim Walters, is working to get the Ashlynne Mike law implemented in Indian country. Read the article.


Additional information on resources regarding missing and abducted children is available on the websites of OJJDP and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

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