Every year, more than 50 000 children are reported missing in Canada. Avis de recherche (ADR.tv), the Quebec television channel devoted to public safety, is launching Child Alert, an iPhone application that allows parents to create and save a digital profile of their child. In the event of emergency, parents can then quickly send this data sheet to the authorities. A version for Android will be available in the near future.
The authorities stress that the first few hours following a disappearance are crucial. Reacting quickly can significantly increase the chances of finding a child safe and sound. More often than not, however, parents in such a situation are in a state of panic and therefore incapable of giving an accurate description of their child.
The Child Alert data sheet features height, weight, hair and eye colour, plus all other distinguishing features. The app also lets parents save photos of their child taken from a number of different angles.
“Our Child Alert application lets parents have a detailed physical description of their children at their fingertips”, explains Vincent Géracitano, President of Avis de recherche. “The app also sends users a regular reminder to keep their data up-to-date.”
”Our goal at the Center is to protect and save children’s lives. The more tools we have the more we can fulfill our mandate, explains Monique Perras, S/Sgt, NCO i/c National Missing Children’s Services, of the RCMP. We want to congratulate Avis de recherche.tv for their initiative and their support. In working together we can achieve so much more!”
Sergeant Jean-Yves McCann, coordinator of the AMBER alert program for the Sûreté du Québec, agrees wholeheartedly : “When an AMBER alert is activated, time is crucial and every minute counts – so having an electronic ID profile on a cell phone seems like an extremely valuable tool. We will clearly be able to save a lot of time by broadcasting accurate details of the child. And broadcasting photos will greatly increase our chances of success. I would therefore encourage parents in Quebec to use this application, which could become a kind of police insurance if your child ever disappears or is abducted.”
The Child Alert app can be downloaded for $0.99. For every purchase, ADR.tv will assist organizations that help families look for missing children in Canada. The channel will donate a quarter of all funds raised. In Canada the funds will be given to the Child Find organization. Whereas, in Quebec, these funds will be donated to Enfant-Retour Québec.
« Given that one in five children are found after being recognized in a photograph, it is extremely important that parents have recent photos to show the police if their child disappears”, adds Pina Arcamone, Director General of Enfant-Retour Quebec. “The Child Alert app lets parents keep an electronic ID profile on their cell phones. By moving the child identification program onto an electronic platform, we have made it more widely available and easier to access for families everywhere.”
This is the second app launched by ADR.tv. Last fall, the channel launched ADR Alerte, an app that lets users receive and view photos of missing persons, as well as police photos and videos of suspects. In this way, ADR Alerte allows the public to participate in police enquiries.