AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM) – After little more than a decade, the Texas Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol Troopers has reached a milestone in child rescues.

This week they saved their 500th child during traffic stops since the implementation of specialized training, the Interdiction for the Protection of Children (IPC) program, in 2009.

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“This is an outstanding contribution to public safety by our Troopers who identified and rescued children during standard traffic stops, even though the child could not necessarily vocalize they needed help,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “At the same time, it helped us take reprehensible criminals who prey on one of our most vulnerable populations off the streets.”

The IPC program training teaches officers to spot indicators that a child is a victim or at risk of becoming a victim, and includes children who are missing, exploited, at-risk or endangered. Troopers receive their training through a two-day, 16-hour course that uses a child-centered approach and assess the totality of circumstances to determine if a child is at risk.

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In addition to removing children from dangerous situations, the training also helps DPS in related child abduction, human trafficking, possession of child pornography and sexual assault investigations.

In addition to child rescues, IPC has trained more than 10,000 people in its methods across the U.S. and other countries, prompting groundbreaking changes in how agencies improve accountability and approach child safety concerns.

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The program uses a multidisciplinary approach to train law enforcement, prosecutors, criminal intelligence analysts, child protective service, victim services and child advocacy center professionals collectively. It continues to advocate the message: “Stop waiting for children to ask for your help.”