Child Abduction Response Team
On December 1, 2008 Attorney General Anne Milgram directed the establishment of Child Abduction Response Teams (CART) throughout New Jersey. The implementation of the CART protocol recognizes that reports of missing children can be among the most difficult, challenging, and emotionally charged cases within law enforcement. Moreover, it is critical that these investigations commence immediately and that all law enforcement agencies coordinate their response—emphasizing cooperation and communication.
It shall be the policy of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office that every law enforcement agency shall thoroughly investigate all reports of missing children younger than 13 years of age. Additionally, we hold that every child reported as missing, will be considered at risk until information to the contrary is confirmed.
Upon receipt of a missing child report, CART may be activated. CART activation is within the discretion of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, Commanding Officer.
It is the policy of the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office to activate a CART team under certain circumstances based upon a reasonable review of the available evidence demonstrating :
1. That a missing child has probably been abducted or,
2. That a missing child may suffer serious harm due to the child being out of the zone of safety for his/her age, developmental state, physical condition, or,
3. That a missing child is in a life threatening situation.
In making that determination, the CART team shall be guided by the definitions established of an at-risk missing child with unusual circumstances.
If it is determined that a child is at-risk with unusual circumstances, an expanded investigation, including the use of all appropriate resources, will immediately commence. While all missing child(ren) incidents should be investigated thoroughly, those involving unusual circumstances indicate a heightened likelihood of risk to the child and, therefore, require an intensive immediate response utilizing all tools available to law enforcement.
If appropriate, existing interagency response protocols-including the AMBER Alert system, if available, should be activated.