Northwest Florida Child Abduction Response Team gains national certification

For Immediate Release

June 14, 2018

Defuniak Springs, Fla – Today, the Department of Justice presented the Northwest Florida Child Abduction Response Team (NWF-CART) with national certification. NWF-CART is the sixth CART in Florida to be certified and one of only 23 in the nation. Less than 10 percent of CARTs are certified nationwide.

Child Abduction Response Teams are multi-agency and multi-jurisdiction response teams staffed with law enforcement, search and rescue, and support personnel specifically trained to respond when children go missing or are abducted. With a single phone call to any of FDLE’s Regional Operations Centers, local law enforcement agencies have immediate access to experts in child abduction investigations and personnel trained in the incident command system.

Over the past 18 months, NWF-CART has worked towards compliance with its national counterpart. On February 9, 2018, the team conducted a mock abduction exercise for Department of Justice certification standards. The Walton County Sheriff’s Office hosted the exercise in DeFuniak Springs, Florida.

Over 130 CART members from 20 agencies participated in the exercise. Department of Justice assessors were present to observe and document the field exercise, which was designed to fully test response capability including: Amber Alert activation protocol, CART activation protocol, leads tracking and case management, tip line management, inter-agency communications, K9 tracking, volunteer management, search and rescue planning, canvassing operations and management, and the use of standardized CART documentation. 

FDLE supports the efforts of law enforcement to recover missing children year-round with multiple programs, including CART and its statewide AMBER Alerts and Missing Child Alerts. During 2017, Florida law enforcement agencies received 31,976 reports of missing children, the vast majority of whom were safely recovered.

AMBER and Missing Child Alerts are an important tool in the safe recovery of missing and endangered children across Florida. 

Citizens can now receive AMBER and Missing Child Alerts through text messages as well as email by visiting

KidSmartz ( and NetSmartz ( feature interactive, educational programs of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children that provide age-appropriate resources to help teach children how to be safer on and offline. The websites include programs designed for children, parents and guardians, educators and law enforcement.
To view safety tips on how to keep your children safe, visit  To learn more about Florida’s AMBER Plan, visit