Amber Alerts have led to the quick return of several kidnapped children. Missing-children’s advocates hope that the system can be strengthened a year after Congress provided federal aid for the program, reports the Associated Press. Critics cite 11-year-old Carlie Brucia of Sarasota, Fla. Her parents called police within minutes of her disappearance in February, but a day passed before police decided the case fit the Amber Alert profile. Her body was found several days later.
Each state has different rules about specifics that qualify for Amber Alerts, named after 9-year-old Amber Hagerman, who was abducted in Texas and killed in 1996. Police and families sometimes face layers of bureaucracy before officials will agree to issue statewide alerts. “You’ve got something that kind of works sometimes, but it’s inhibited by bad policy, by inadequate funding and by an inability to create a uniform system,” said Mark Klaas, whose 12-year-old daughter Polly was kidnapped from her home in 1993 and killed.