A recent report in the local paper about a missing disabled man ( Yuma Sun ) caught my attention. In a weird sense of obligation to the community and others in general, I always try to read these stories on my way to the Sports Section. The story was what one might expect from a local paper about a local missing and endangered person case. However, one section of the article really caught my attention.
Apparently, our local police are now utilizing the services of the organization A Child Is Missing (ACIM), which phones residents in the area of the missing child or vulnerable adult and provides a description of the person. While I am familiar with great organizations like the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, I had never heard of the type of organization utilized in this case. So like every person who wants to be informed, I turned to the Internet.
A quick search led me to achildismissing.org. According to their website, ACIM is a non-profit corporation that offers a number of services. Primarily though, they are a resource available, free of cost, to law enforcement agencies that allows officers to get information about the missing person out to the person’s neighborhood quickly.
Once police receive a report of a missing child or vulnerable adult, they can contact ACIM, even from the scene, and provide details about the case. ACIM then records a description of the person and events. That information, along with information about the geographic area is entered into the ACIM computer network.
Once this happens, ACIM claims to be able to make over 1,000 phone calls in the local area within 60 seconds. This is truly amazing. In missing person cases, particularly with children and at-risk adults, time is critical. What ACIM does is akin to helping the sheriff round up a posse, and they do it in a matter of seconds. One would be hard pressed to argue that this is not a valuable tool for law enforcement. Yet, ACIM does not stop there.
Programs to protect children:
Aside from their Missing Child Alerts, ACIM also has many other programs meant to protect children. One such program is the Bully Squad. This program provides children aged 10 to 14 with information to deal with bullying. Another program ACIM makes available to children is the Child Safety Education Program, or CTEP. CTEP provides safety tips to children by reaching out to them through summer camps.
Aside from providing safety tips, CTEP also reinforces communication between children and their parents or legal guardians. This communication is vital for protecting children from abuse and exploitation. Every parent or community leader should take the time to ensure they educate their children, and children throughout their community, on child safety.
ACIM also actively participates in and organizes local Child Abduction Response Teams (CART). The CART Notification Program, sponsored by ACIM, works closely with liaisons for local response teams and provides for swift activation of these teams during abduction emergencies. Through this program, teams consisting of law enforcement, non-profit organizations and civilian search teams can be called into action almost immediately. This program can save vital time in recovering a missing child.
Not all law enforcement agencies utilize the CART program. Those in law enforcement should research the program and decide whether this organization can help your department form a CART. Members of communities that do not currently have an organized CART should contact ACIM and their local law enforcement leadership to explore the possibility of forming one.
ACIM takes a proactive approach in preventing abduction of children by sexual predators. Their Sexual Predator Adult Education Awareness Program utilizes true eye-opening stories to educate adults about the necessity of protecting their children from dangerous predators. The program recognizes that protecting children starts with vigilant parenting. ACIM’s approach to safeguarding communities from predators continues with the Sexual Offender/Predator Alert Program. The program assists local law enforcement with delivering public service messages and information to neighborhoods where sexual offenders reside. The program follows strict guidelines consistent with the laws of each specific geographic region in which they operate.
It is important to note that notification programs are not intended to fuel angry mobs bent on harassing these offenders. They are intended to raise awareness so that parents and the local community can identify and address potential risks to their children. Utilizing these programs to harass or assault offenders only serves to weaken these programs and can result in severe criminal penalties in some jurisdictions.
According to their website, ACIM is a non-profit organization and operates on federal and state grants as well as charitable donations . Given the assistance that they offer communities, they seem like a very worthwhile cause for those wishing to make charitable donations. However, it is always wise to check into any organization before donating to them. ACIM recently received a charity review from the Better Business Bureau , which is available on the Bureau’s website.
I have no affiliation with ACIM and had never even heard about them before I read the above-mentioned article. However, I would encourage everyone to please consider the work that this organization does in local communities throughout the nation when deciding where your charitable contributions will be spent. Also, please contact them about services or programs available in your community. One should also consider investing their time by volunteering to serve as a member of a local Child Abduction Response Team, even if it is not affiliated with ACIM. Your time or donation may very well save the life of a child some day.
Knaub, Mara. ” Police Report Mentally Disabled Man as Missing .” YumaSun. April 20, 2011. April 21, 2011. ” A Child Is Missing .” A Child Is Missing. April 21, 2011. ” BBB Wise Giving Report for A Child Is Missing .” Better Business Bureau. February 2011. April 21, 2011.