National representatives from the Amber Alert program came to Little Rock Thursday to formally recognize Arkansas as state agencies have worked to ensure all children are better protected.
It was an emotional day. Arkansas became the first state to obtain national statewide certification for its Child Abduction Response Teams. 190 agencies in Arkansas makeup 12 different teams.
"All the people standing up here have worked tirelessly to accomplish this,” Derek Van Luchene, the National Child Abduction Response team coordinator, said.
Those 12 teams, also known as CARTs, are trained how to properly respond when a child is abducted, missing or endangered; saving critical time and increasing the likelihood of bringing an abducted child home.
"24 years ago when Morgan was taken, we didn't have any of this,” Colleen Nick said.
Colleen Nick's daughter Morgan was abducted at a baseball game in Alma in 1995. Nick has since worked tirelessly to help people find their missing children.
"We don't have to lose kids. The perpetrators are out there looking for them but we can respond in a way that changes the life of a child,” Nick said.
In 2015, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge gave $100,000 for state agencies to undergo Child Abduction Response Training. Thursday she gave another $150,000 to the program.
In order to maintain national certification, teams are required to go through annual meetings and training.