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September/October 2006
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Child Protection
DMC Conference
NCJFCJ Conference
Adam Walsh Act
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Funding Update
Coordinating Council
Advisory Committee
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The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention recently supported two conferences with the theme of protecting our nation's children.

AMBER Alert Conference

Regina B. Schofield, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, opened the 2006 AMBER Alert Conference, held July 17–21 in Albuquerque, NM, with a challenge to participants to work together to recover abducted children. In her welcome to conference participants, Ms. Schofield, who also serves the U.S. Department of Justice's National AMBER Alert Coordinator, said, "The challenges of finding missing and abducted children require us to be vigilant in our commitment and efforts…Taking on the responsibility of being an active partner in the AMBER Alert Program requires continuous team building, coordination, and the vigilance to never lose sight of the objective."

Much of the conference, which was sponsored by OJJDP's AMBER Alert Technical Assistance Provider Fox Valley Technical College, addressed issues of importance to Native Americans as tribes explore implementing or expanding AMBER Alert in Indian Country. Sessions were held on community partnerships among tribes, local law enforcement and AMBER Alert coordinators; as well as how the legal systems are different on tribal lands (i.e., what is involved in prosecuting child abductions and legal issues that law enforcement should be aware of when dealing with Native American communities). Other sessions addressed the history of border issues, progress AMBER Alert has made in stopping child abductions from crossing our borders, and the work that still needs to be done. Participants included AMBER Alert coordinators and their partners from the media/broadcast industry, law enforcement, transportation, and State Missing Children Clearinghouses.

Crimes Against Children Conference

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales gave the keynote address at the 18th Annual Crimes Against Children Conference held August 21–24 in Dallas, TX. Highlighting the special difficulties posed by modern technology, Mr. Gonzales emphasized the need to work together to keep our nation's children safe. "The Internet has made the global responsibility of protecting our kids even more challenging. While being perhaps the greatest invention of our generation, this tool has also, unfortunately, provided elements that criminals love: a cloak of anonymity, speed of communication, and global access to potential victims."

Sponsored in part by OJJDP and presented by the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center and Dallas Police Department, the conference brought together 2,700 law enforcement officers, child advocates, social workers, and others who work directly with cases involving crimes against children. Participants attended workshops on investigative techniques, forensics, legal issues, and other topics.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, with Michelle Collins of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, views a demonstration of the Child Victim Identification Lab.
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, with Michelle Collins of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, views a demonstration of the Child Victim Identification Lab.
In addition, this year marked the debut of the Child Victim Identification Lab. The lab was developed as a collaborative effort by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces. This computer lab will serve as a valuable tool to assist NCMEC in identifying children who are depicted in child pornography pictures and movies. Conference participants were able to view a demonstration (featuring only images of children in non-abusive situations) of the lab and were given training in identifying details in video and photograph backgrounds that might offer clues as to the location of the child.

The 5th Annual ICAC Conference was held in conjunction with the annual Crimes Against Children Conference. OJJDP Administrator J. Robert Flores welcomed the assembled ICAC Task Forces to the conference. Assistant Attorney General Regina B. Schofield addressed the opening session of the ICAC gathering. Ms. Schofield stressed the need for continued efforts to address child exploitation and thanked the participants for all their work in protecting our Nation's children.

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