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What are the requirements for an AMBER alert?

When some parents divorce or separate, one parent might not be satisfied with the child custody arrangements. In fact, he or she could be so unhappy that he or she decides to take the child and run. When this happens, law enforcement in Florida and across the country may be able to issue an AMBER alert in order to help locate the child and the parent.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement developed a plan so the AMBER Alert could be established in the state. There were many partners that helped with this task, including local, state and private parties. This tool allows law enforcement to quickly let the public know about a child who has been kidnapped and is now considered endangered. In addition to the AMBER alert, the FDLE also established another alert. It is called the Missing Child Alert and is used when the AMBER alert requirements are not met. For example, a Missing Child Alert is used when a child is in danger but was not abducted.

There have been many instances where an AMBER Alert and a Missing Child Alert have saved a child's life. In April 2014, an AMBER alert was issued after someone abducted a five-month old baby in Sarasota County. A caller, who chose to remain anonymous, notified the local police after seeing the AMBER alert and told them where the child, the abductor and the vehicle were. The child was safely recovered.

If you believe that your child may be in danger of being whisked away while with his or her other parent, it would be a good idea to speak with your divorce attorney to determine a possible plan of action.

Source: Florida Department of Law Enforcement, "Florida AMBER Plan," accessed Dec. 11, 2015

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