Code Adam was created and named in memory of 6-year-old Adam Walsh. In 1981 Adam was abducted from a Florida shopping mall and later found murdered. This incident brought national attention to the horror of child abduction. Since the beginning of the Code Adam program in 1994 it has been a powerful search tool for lost and possibly abducted children in tens of thousands of establishments across the nation, and it is one of the country’s largest child-safety programs. A Code Adam decal is posted at a building’s entrance alerting the public of the location’s participation in the program.
There are six steps employees are trained to follow when a Code Adam is activated
- If a visitor reports a child is missing, a detailed description of the child and what he or she is wearing is obtained.
- The employee goes to the nearest in-house telephone and pages Code Adam, describing the child’s physical features and clothing. As designated employees monitor front entrances, other employees begin looking for the child.
- If the child is not found within 10 minutes, law enforcement is called.
- If the child is found and appears to have been lost and unharmed, the child is reunited with the searching family member.
- If the child is found accompanied by someone other than a parent or legal guardian, reasonable efforts to delay their departure will be used without putting the child, staff, or visitors at risk. Law enforcement will be notified and given details about the person accompanying the child.
- The Code Adam page will be canceled after the child is found or law enforcement arrives.