This week Facebook launched a 'Child Rescue Alert' system to help locate and bring missing children home.

When a child goes missing, finding them as quickly as possible is often key to their safety and wellbeing. The new feature uses the eyes and ears of the local Facebook community to spread the word that police are looking for a child whose life is at risk.

The Child Rescue Alert (CRA) system is already in use by the National Crime Agency (NCA) charity Missing People and software company Groupcall, but now when a CRA is issued an update from Facebook will show up at the top of the newsfeeds of people who live or are currently located within the search area.

Photos, descriptions and last known sighting details will all be provided so members of the public can help join the search. People will be able to share the post across other social media platforms, and there's a number to call provided if anyone has information to help.

Emily Vacher, Trust and Safety Manager for Facebook, said in a statement:

All over the world, we’ve seen communities rallying together in times of need, using Facebook to spread the word – and these alerts will make that quicker and help to reach more people than ever before during these exceptionally stressful and worrying times.

Working in partnership with several of the UK’s most critical support organisations, we hope we can enlist even more people to help reunite children with their families.

Facebook has proved useful in locating missing loved ones in the past. It has helped to successfully track down missing children in the US and has also reunited missing loved ones with their families in the wake of several naturaldisasters.

If you want to find out more about the Child Rescue Alert System or sign up for direct text and email notifications, click here.

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