Texas Center for the Missing launched the Mobile Search and Education Lab, a new community asset for the prevention and recovery of missing children, at three unveiling events this week. The non-profit organization provides support for families, law enforcement, and volunteers searching for missing children in the 13-county Houston-Galveston region, and used a grant from health insurer Humana and The Humana Foundation to fund the Mobile Lab.

The Mobile Search and Education Lab will function as a hands-on center to educate law enforcement about Web-based Amber Alerts and as a learning center on Internet safety for children, teens, and parents. During high-risk abduction investigations, the self-contained Mobile Lab can also serve as the incident command center at search-and-rescue sites.

"With almost 15,000 children reported missing in our area each year, we must use all of the resources and technology possible to prevent these tragedies, and mobilize quickly when a child is missing," said Beth Alberts, chief executive officer of Texas Center for the Missing. "This new Mobile Lab will enable us to do just that."

Other functions of the Mobile Lab include:

  • Creation and distribution of digital child identification kits and missing child response plans.
  • Deployment and training exercises for the Southeast Texas Child Abduction Response Team, a multi-disciplinary, cross-jurisdictional, pre-planned, coordinated response to cases of endangered missing children and child abductions.
  • Deployments of the Southeast Texas Search and Rescue Alliance for field training and search operations.

The Mobile Lab was funded by a $100,000 grant from Humana's 2007 Houston Benefits program, the health insurer's annual charitable award for a non-profit organization serving the greater Houston metropolitan area.

"Humana is honored to serve alongside worthwhile organizations like Texas Center for the Missing as we find ways to support the needs of our community," said Pattie Dale Tye, market president of Humana of Houston. "The Mobile Search and Education Lab will help keep the children of the greater Houston and Galveston area safer in a variety of ways including Internet safety education and digital ID kits. The Mobile Lab will also lend much needed support to families and law enforcement officers in times of crisis."