The Michigan State Police have announced some changes to the AMBER Alert system that will take effect on January 1, 2017.

Starting January 1, AMBER Alerts will only be issued for cases of child abductions involving victims under the age of 18, according to the Michigan State Police.  All AMBER Alerts will be broadcast with a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA).

Previously, WEAs were only sent out when a suspected vehicle license number was available.

Additionally, AMBER Alerts will not be issued for missing children who have wandered away on their own and have mental or physical disabilities.

In a press release, Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police explained, “Any time a child goes missing, it’s an urgent situation and we should all pay attention; however, in the case of child abductions the urgency is even greater. By tightening the standards for issuing an AMBER Alert we will ensure these alerts are utilized in only the most dire of circumstances to get credible, useful information out to the public in order to bring abducted children home safely.”

Michigan State Police have also created a new category for missing child cases called an Endangered Missing Advisory, which does not have an age restriction. The Endangered Missing Advisory is a notice sent to broadcast and print media in the geographic area of the incident, but unlike an AMBER Alert, this advisory does not utilize the Emergency Alert System to interrupt broadcasting and it will not be sent to mobile devices as a WEA.