Three Amber Alerts in as many weeks in the Rochester area is a rare occurrence. For parents worried their child could fall victim to an abductor, Monroe County is offering help at no cost.
"When parents are struggling, they call our information line," said Kristine Durante, assistant chief probation officer for Monroe County’s Family Services Division and part of the lead agency overseeing FACT – Family Access and Connection Team. If your child goes missing, FACT can step in.
FACT also works to prevent a disappearance. It’s a collaborative effort, teaming the Department of Human Services, the Office of Mental Health, and Probation. FACT is designed to support families experiencing difficulties with their children under the age of 18 exhibiting a pattern of behaviors that may include:
- Acting dangerous or out of control, such as showing violence in the home, destroying property, being verbally and/or physically aggressive, injuring other people, themselves or animals
- Stealing from the home
- Drug/alcohol abuse
- Leaving home without permission
- Violating curfew
Two of the three recent Amber Alerts in the Rochester area involved 14-year-old girls leaving with an adult man, apparently of their own free will. In the eyes of the law, these incidents are still abductions.
The idea is to prevent children and young teens from ever having to enter the system because the county says, statistically, once a kid is in the system they tend to stay there.
"What we’ve done is front-load services at the front end before they get into the system so that we can provide all the resources that a family might need to kind of get through this difficult time," said Durante.
If you need help in Monroe County, contact FACT at 585-753-2639. If your child goes missing, call 911 immediately, and then call FACT.