Cybele K. Daley, Deputy Assistant Attorney General
Office of Justice Programs
Child Abduction Response Team Training
San Diego, CA
January 26, 2006
Thank you, Ron.
It's a pleasure to be here representing the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) on behalf of Assistant Attorney General Regina Schofield.
Assistant Attorney General Schofield regrets that she couldn't be here today, but the circumstances keeping her away are happy ones. She's at home taking care of a new baby girl, born just two months ago. We wish her and her baby well.
Protecting children is central to our mission at the Office of Justice Programs and the Department of Justice. In fact, it's one of the standards by which we measure our effectiveness as an agent of public safety.
Assistant Attorney General Schofield is the National AMBER Alert Coordinator. In that role, she is responsible for helping to create a seamless network of AMBER Alert systems that span the country. And in OJP, we've been working to make sure our AMBER partners in states and communities have the resources they need to maintain effective programs.
Earlier this month, we marked the 10th anniversary of the AMBER Alert program. I'd like to highlight some of the milestones we've achieved:
- We began 2005 by welcoming Hawaii aboard with the 50th statewide AMBER plan.
- We created a secondary distribution network for AMBER Alerts, which enlists the private sector as a partner in publicizing alerts.
- We launched an effort to raise public awareness about the importance of AMBER.
- We partnered with the wireless industry to create a system for issuing AMBER Alerts directly to the more than 190 million cell phone subscribers.
- We saw the recovery of the 241st abducted child with the help of AMBER Alert.
- And we have seen AMBER Alert stop a number of abductions from escalating into violence.
But issuing an AMBER Alert is not appropriate in every missing child case. Sometimes, what is needed is a broader, coordinated effort to locate a missing child.
Child Abduction Response Teams (CARTs) will complement the AMBER program by providing a mechanism for responding to all missing children's cases, even those that don't meet the criteria for an AMBER Alert. And each regional team will be able to develop a CART that best suits their demographic and geographic needs.
As many of you know, the CART program began as a result of the tragic abduction of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia in Sarasota, Florida, in February 2004.
Members of the Orlando Regional Operations Center working on the Brucia case determined that they needed trained experts in the field of child abduction investigation and response. These experts needed to be able to respond to an abduction immediately, assist the lead local law enforcement agency, and bring additional regional resources to the recovery effort.
The Department of Justice is always looking for innovative ways to keep our communities safe. And we saw Florida's success with its CART model. Now, OJP has modified Florida's local CART model so it can be adapted nationwide.
For example, the modified training will include an actual child abduction case study, components on response planning, and first responder protocol, to name a few of the subjects that will be addressed in each regional training session.
If you have colleagues who weren't able to be here today, the next training session will be in Louisville, Kentucky, February 27 through March 3. More information about the training is available on the AMBER website at: www.amberalert.gov.
We all know that a child can be in danger even if there's no evidence of an abduction. We should never minimize the terrible anxiety and trauma that parents experience when their child is missing, but not known to have been abducted. Our goal is to be sure that trained experts are available to aid in responding to cases of missing and abducted children.
CART is our answer for responding to those cases. I'm pleased that so many of you are here today to help make CART a reality.
In closing, I'd like to share a quote from the Attorney General about how important your work is to the nation. The Attorney General said recently, and I quote, "There is no greater measure of our nation's compassion or our humanity as a people than how we protect, raise, and care for our children" - end of quote. Indeed, what better standard of our worth could we establish than the welfare and safety of our young people?
We know that with your participation, the CART program will expand our ability to find missing children.
Again, thank you for being here today.