The U.S. Department of Justice automatically sends AMBER Alert text messages to Wireless Emergency Alert-enabled cell phones as of Jan. 1, 2013. The AMBER Alert program is a partnership between law enforcement, broadcasters, transportation agencies and wireless communications companies, explains the Department of Justice.
Child abduction cases must meet certain criteria before law enforcement can issue an AMBER Alert. The child must be under the age of 18 and at serious risk of injury or death by the abductor. Law enforcement must have adequate descriptions of the child, the abductor and the abductor's vehicle. Each state sets its own AMBER Alert guidelines, but the 2003 PROTECT Act sets federal standards that many states follow, notes the Department of Justice.