The state of Florida is launching a major safety initiative aimed at helping parents or guardians quickly present information to law enforcement should a young child go missing.
Last week, Attorney General Ashley Moody announced the parents of every kindergartner in the state will receive a free Child ID kit to keep in their home.
Working with the National Child ID program, Moody said the kits are low-tech tools that help parents record and safely store important information about their children in one place in case an emergency arises.
“As a mother, I truly hope no parent ever needs to utilize the kit—but should a child go missing, it could prove vital in helping law enforcement and the public in their search,” Moody said.
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Moody said approximately 250,000 kits will be provided to all Florida school districts for distribution to parents of kindergartners in public, private and charter schools.
Once received, the parents can utilize a kit by collecting information about their child, such as physical characteristics, photographs, fingerprints and DNA, that would be valuable to authorities should the child ever go missing.
According to the National Child Identification Program, more than 800,000 children go missing in the U.S. every year – which breaks down to one every 40 seconds. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said more than 25,000 incidents involving missing children were reported to agencies across the state in 2021.
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Florida Sheriffs Association President and Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhaus added “there is no such thing as being over prepared when it comes to the safety and wellbeing of our children.”
“With a child going missing every 40 seconds in America, we must all be ready for worst-case scenarios,” Nienhaus said. “God willing, law enforcement will never need to see your Child ID Kit, but the National Child Identification Program allows families to be proactive with their at-home kit in case of an emergency.”
National Child ID Program Executive Director Kenny Hansmire stated Moody is “taking major steps” in leading the charge to protect Florida’s children by launching the program and distributing the kits.
“This is a gift of safety from the AG’s office. It does not go into a database,” Hansmire said. “We hope to God it’s never used, but if [parents] ever need to turn it over to law enforcement, we want them to have it.”
The launch is a joint effort between Moody, Hansmire, Nienhaus, NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks, and representatives from the Department of Education, Florida Association of District School Superintendents, and Florida Association of School Resource Officers.
In launching the program, Florida joined 24 other states in the U.S. already working with the NCIP. The organization reports more than 81 million kits have been distributed in all 50 states over the past 25 years.
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