Photo courtesy of UAW-Ford
It's easy to imagine. You're out shopping or having a good time. You turn to look for your child, and, suddenly, she's not there. You call for her, scrambling around the area, your heart pounding. Many parents have experienced this feeling, which is usually accompanied by a great wave of relief when the child is found.
But not every parent is so lucky. There are around 467,000 missing children in the United States, accordingly to the latest numbers by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The nonprofit Child Rescue Network notes a child goes missing somewhere in the United States every 41 seconds. Either way, the bottom line is clear: It's a problem that needs to be addressed.
The National Child Identification Program helps. Launched in 1997 by the American Football Coaches Association, the program's ID kits aim to combat these alarming statistics. And, in 2013, UAW-Ford partnered with this national effort.
On Detroit Public Schools Community District's official Count Day – which was Oct. 4, 2017 – every K-12 student received a free kit, which, according to a UAW-Ford statement, "equips parents and guardians with the resources needed in the event of a missing child."
Included in these 50,000 kits were two inkless fingerprint cards, two DNA collection swabs and a pair of activator cards. Parents or guardians collect samples of their child's DNA from saliva in his or her cheek with the swab, take their child's fingerprints with the inkless solution and then fill out the cards, ultimately keeping all items in a safe spot. Then, in the case of a missing-child emergency, these details can be handed to the authorities to help locate the child.
In the statement, UAW-Ford vice president Jimmy Settles says, "It is my prayer that no parent ever lives this nightmare, but we must face real and ugly issues like this head-on. As a show of solidarity, UAW-Ford is proud to help offer a needed resource."
DPSCD Superintendent Nikolai Vitti echoes Settles' support of the program and expresses being optimistic about the new partnership.
For most parents, there are probably few things scarier than an Amber Alert bearing their child's name. The National Child Identification Program is one of the tools available for law enforcement to help locate missing children and to give parents real options if the worst ever happens.
"Incentives such as the ID kit help us to engage families and students on Count Day and provide another platform for us to stress the importance of consistent attendance every day in school," Vitti says in the release.
If you're interested in purchasing your own ID kit, you can visit the National Child Identification Program order page. Individual kits are $9.95 each.
Photo details: UAW-Ford community relations director Angelique Peterson-Mayberry (center) presents free child ID kits to students at Coleman A. Young Elementary School during Detroit Public Schools Community District’s 2017 Count Day. Also pictured (from left) are DPSCD Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti and UAW-Ford representative Dan Scott.