Child and Elderly Missing Alert Program

Floor Speech

By:  Ted Deutch
Date: Sept. 11, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. DEUTCH. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Virginia.

I rise today to urge passage of H.R. 4305, the Child and Elderly Missing Alert Program Act of 2012.

This bill, which I had the pleasure of introducing with my friend, Mr. Chabot of Ohio, will help law enforcement agencies nationwide safely recover missing children and elderly adults.

As Mr. Chabot highlighted, every 40 seconds a child goes missing in America, with over 800,000 children reported each and every year. The panic that takes over when a child cannot be found is a feeling that every parent hopes and prays they will never have to experience.

We know that every second is precious. In fact, in tragic cases involving abducted and murdered children, research supported by the Department of Justice shows that 74 percent were slain within the first 3 hours. Likewise, the families of adults suffering from Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia feel that same anxiety when a loved one goes missing. They're not just in danger of injury, but of going too long without medications that they rely on. In fact, half of elderly adults who wander from their residences suffer serious injuries or death if not located within 24 hours.

Though the Amber Alert and Silver Alert programs are invaluable tools for law enforcement to alert communities of missing persons, too often they're not activated until precious time has passed. Whether young or old, we know that the ability to locate missing persons within the first few hours of their disappearance is vital.

By passing H.R. 4305, we can help law enforcement agencies nationwide employ technology pioneered by Sherry Friedlander, a south Florida woman who started an organization called A Child is Missing. A Child is Missing helps police and rescue teams get the word out fast. It is the only organization that assists in all types of missing cases, including abductions, runaways, or individuals that lose their way.

When a person is reported missing to law enforcement, A Child is Missing utilizes the latest satellite technology to place 1,000 emergency phone calls every 60 seconds to residents and businesses in the area where the person was last seen. In fact, just this year, A Child is Missing marked its 1,000th successfully assisted recovery. This proven technology works, and it saves lives. By passing this legislation, we can help law enforcement successfully recover missing persons nationwide.

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