#1 Everyone Knows Its Windy
#2 The Road Less Traveled By Made All The Difference
#3 The Biggest Debacle Ever
#4 Planes, Trains, & Automobiles
#5 Golz At The Bat
#6 Trust No One
#7 Urban/suburban ELT Search Procedures
#8 Critical Incident Stress Debriefing?
#9 New Frequency, Old Problems
#10 Air to Air DF!
#11 the Great Flood of '97
#12 Air Search at its Worst
#13 It Can't Be Anything of MINE!
#14 Switch Off!
#15 The Real Ones
#16 Tales From the Northwest ELT Team
#17 Child Find Program
#18 A False Find
#19 Discarded ELT
#20 DF In My Living Room
#21 One, Both, or None
#22 Tower Power
#23 Confusion Reigns
#24 Low Power, High Reflections
#25 But We're Not Transmitting!

Child Find

Child Find-Is a program that has been developed to provide CAP Squadrons with the ability to supply fully trained teams to assist Law Enforcement in locating Younger missing Children. It is also adaptable to missing elderly.

Time being a critical factor training is directed to a maximum of a two-hour response time from a request for assistance by Law Enforcement.

Authority-An MOU between CAP and the County or Law Enforcement Agency is required.

Qualifications-Qualifications to participate are kept to a minimum so that new CAP members will be eligible as soon as possible. This program is open to both Cadet and Senior Members.

A general ES Card (issued by the Squadron Commander). Completion of the training Manual and Participation in two practice Child Find Exercises at Squadron Level.

Uniform-BDU's with Orange Baseball type CAP, (mandatory for visibility in wooded areas and aircraft identification).

Teams-As described in the manual SHALL not be in the field more than two Hours MAXIMUM without rotation. Team Leaders should provide rest stops every thirty minutes all team members should carry canteens and first aid kits. Safety is the number one priority.

Maps-While some "Child Find" exercises may be in residential areas many take place in parks and wooded areas. It has been determined that 1/8 mile grids are the most efficient for this type activity. A sample system is included in the training manual. It becomes simple to understand after you use it. It is a must in order to provide debriefing information to law enforcement and assigning task areas to teams.

Communications-The CHILD FIND COORDINATOR will be based at the police command center and will relay instructions to the team leaders, assign task areas, brief and debrief team leaders. He/She will be responsible for the safety of CAP members and will brief the Police IC on CAP requirements. Radio's, cell phones and Whistles (mandatory, as covered in the manual) shall be used as available.

While in assigned task areas, the "buddy system" is MANDATORY and visual contact of buddies shall be maintained at all times.

These are the Highlights of the "Child Find" program. Details are contained in the training/ops manual that is to be considered as a guide because of the variety of conditions that might exist. Except for those items as indicated as being Mandatory for Safety and Regulation reasons.

Respectfully Submitted; Howard Gelbman, LtCol. CAP


Child Find
Staffing Positions & Qualifications

All CAP Seniors shall have a current general ES Card and have completed the Cadet Protection Program.

CAP Coordinator
Senior Member 21 years or older
Map reading and grid location qualified
Have thorough knowledge and understanding of all applicable CAP regulations and operations.
Shall report to the Law Enforcement Incident Commander and shall be responsible for compliance with all CAP regulations and the Safety of CAP members. Shall appoint Child Find Teams and Leaders. Shall assign Task areas to teams. Shall be responsible for the briefing and debriefing of all Team Leaders.

Senior Team leaders
Senior member 21 years or older.
Has participated in a minimum of two Child Find Training exercises.
Compass, Map reading and grid location qualified.

Cadet Team Members
Must have parental release
Compass, map reading and grid location qualified
Have participated in at least two Child Find Training exercises.

Safety Director
Senior Member 21 years or older.
Participated in at least two Child Find Training Exercises.
Buddy System Qualified
Shall be responsible to see that all members are fully equipped and trained. Shall see that rotation and breaks are adhered to. Shall report all violations to the CAP Coordinator.

Communications Officer
May be a Senior or a Cadet
Must be familiar with all methods of Communications required for this exercise. Including but not limited to S/R radios, scanners, cell phones, GPS Receivers.
If CAP radios are used must possess current ROA card.
Shall be map reading and grid coordinate qualified
Have participated in at least two child find training exercises.

Registration Officer
Shall be located at the site of the CAP Coordinator.
Shall register all incoming CAP Personnel and release all outgoing CAP Personnel.
Shall verify individual Qualifications and report same to the CAP coordinator.
Shall dispatch all field personnel as assigned by the CAP Coordinator.
Shall know the whereabouts of all personnel participating, At All times.

Briefing/Debriefing Officer
Senior Member-Shall brief and debrief all Team Members
Map reading and grid coordinate qualified.
Shall receive all instructions from the CAP Coordinator and report all pertinent information to same.

To provide well-trained and disciplined CAP teams to aid Law Enforcement for the purposes of finding missing children.

Time is of the essence, and Squadron's shall endeavor to be on site within two hours of request for assistance by the IC of law enforcement.

The CAP On-site Coordinator as appointed by the Squadron Commander shall assume overall CAP command onsite.

Once a CAP Coordinator has been appointed for a given exercise any additional Squadrons participating will come under his/her command. Normally the lead Squadron will be the one geographically closest to the incident command site. Unless that Squadron does not maintain a qualified Child Find program.

The IC of the Law Enforcement in Command will be fully briefed by the CAP Coordinator. The CAP Coordinator shall receive operational instructions from the IC. All CAP personnel will be under the direct Control of the CAP Coordinator.

**All Team Members MUST be Map reading and Grid Coordinate Qualified. *

All cadets shall have on file, school releases and participation approval, signed by a parent or guardian.
All CAP Members must have current membership cards.
All Senior Members must possess General ES Card have passed the Cadet Protection Program.
Other Qualifications are encouraged to improve professionalism such as, First Aid, CPR, ROA, First Responder, Incident Command Training and other CAP ES ratings.


The heart of the Child Find program is its teams. Each team is composed of at least one Qualified Team Leader (Senior Member) and two or more Team members who may be Seniors or Cadets. Team Members will always be paired in a buddy system. Each team where practical will be accompanied by a Law enforcement TAC Officer.

There are three levels of Team operations;

1- Hasty Reconnaissance - This is when teams are deployed at the start of an exercise to provide a fast an informal check of a "hot" area. Teams will be briefed, grid locations or areas assigned, equipment checked, then dispatched.

2-Efficient Reconnaissance-this is used when an expanded condensed area is required to be covered i.e. door to door inquiries, residential yards and neighborhoods are checked. Teams will briefed, grid locations or areas assigned. Equipment check then dispatched.

3-Thorough Reconnaissance-this is used when an expanded wide area is to be covered. May be in remote areas. Teams will be briefed, grid locations assigned, Equipment checked then dispatched.


The teams use two types of Formations when in the field.

First is a Line Pattern. This is where the team members are parallel to each other at arms length apart. To be used for flat terrain.

Second is an Inverted V Pattern-This is where Team members are formed in a V formation with the wide end of the V forward. This is used in hilly terrain or in a more concentrated area.

The Buddy System shall be in effect at all times.


Primary Field Communications shall by use of the whistle, as it is the most fail safe method. Hand held two way radios may be used as an alternate method.

Whistle Signals are as follows;

Each signal may be repeated as needed with five-second intervals between signals.

Go forward--------- One short whistle Stop----------------- Two short whistles Danger-------------- Three Short Whistles Need Assistance--- Multiple Short Whistles Return to Base---- One Long Sound


**While different field conditions may require additional equipment this list is considered to be the basic minimum required.

1-BDU Uniform.
2-Orange Baseball CAP (mandatory) optional orange vest.
3-Water Canteen(s)
4-Whistle (Mandatory)
6-Insect Repellent and bite kit
7-Snack type food
8-Pen, Pencil, Paper.
9-Back Pack or Gear Belt Harness
10-Compass (Mandatory)
11-Gloves (Mandatory)


Incident Commander
(Law Enforcement)
CAP Command Coordinator
Senior Team Leader Senior Team Leader
Police TAC Officer Police TAC Officer
Team Members Team Members
Cadets or Seniors Cadets or Seniors
2-4-6 2-4-6


Through Trial and Error it has been determined that Field exercises need to be conducted using a grid no larger than 1/8 mile. Any map may be adapted for use. I have used an inexpensive computer mapping program by Delorme "Simply Streets USA" that produces 1/8 scale maps. Coding to be used on regular maps would be as follows; Starting with 1 mile grids (necessary if Aircraft involved) Designate Capital Letters - " A-B-C-D etc."

Within each 1 mile grid there are 4 -1/2 mile grids. These are designated by the mile grid letter followed by a numerical number for each of the(4) half mile grids i.e. "A"-mile grid would become A-1, A-2,A-3, A-4.

Within each half mile grid are 4-1/4 mile grids and they would be designated by lower case letters. Thus you would have: "A"- mile grid. 'A"-1,2,3,4 half mile grids. And 4-1/4 mile grids which would be "A"-1,2,3,4-a,b,c,d .

Each 1/4mile grid would again use numerical numbers 1 and 2 to convert them to 1/8 mile grid.

Thus if a team were located in the lower right hand 1/8 mile grid of mile grid "A" the designate would be. "A-4-d-2

As I stated it is confusing to understand when written but after a few layouts it becomes understandable.

NOTE; The preceding ten pages are to be used as guidelines to develop "CHILD FIND" programs within your Squadron. All the items stated as MANDATORY are either in the interest of Safety or Compliance with CAP regulations. Beyond that please feel free to adapt this manual as required to accomplish a successful "Child Find" exercise.

The name "Child Find" is used as a more positive reference than "Child Search."

Hopefully this program will appear on the Florida Wing ES Web site for downloading but it IS NOT part of Emergency Service Requirements other than possession of a "General ES Card" issued by the Squadron Commander.

CAP Aircraft are not a normal part of "Child Find,"most air work is performed by Law enforcement Helicopters. However if CAP Aircraft are requested, That phase of the operation MUST be referred to a qualified Mission Coordinator who should report to the CAP Child Find Coordinator for instructions.

I have revised this manual several times based on limited exposure So I would appreciate any comments or suggestions you may have after establishing and using it. You may contact me at e-mail ltc52@aol.com.

Since not all Child Finds end happily it might be advisable to have a Chaplain or other professional counselors on call particularly where cadets are involved. Howard Gelbman LtCol. CAP


This page of the CAP Emergency Services Resources website was last updated 07/01/2008

1998 - 2006 Scott E. Lanis.  All Rights Reserved.