MANTI— In the unlikely event your child suddenly goes missing, the Sheriff’s Department wants every parent to prepare a child identification kit (ID) to make it faster and easier for law enforcement to identify your child in your absence.
Sheriff department information officer Keith Jensen says the department is distributing free child ID kits to parents, schools and other organizations that might be interested.
The kits were created by the National Child ID Program and are sponsored in Utah by Rocky Mountain Power, the International Brotherhood of Electricians, Vivint and Johnson & Johnson.
The kit consists of a business-size envelope containing a card on which the child’s identifying information is written, their fingerprints are placed (using an inkless solution instead of ink), and a section where your child simply places their lips for a second or two that will leave a DNA trace.
The back of the card has body outlines where parents can indicate any distinguishing birthmarks, moles, scars, previously broken bones and prosthetics, as well as height and weight, hair and eye color, and even blood type. The card also has a place to list where medical and dental records are on file.
Perhaps most important is a space for a 3”x5” current photo of the child. Jensen emphasized that the photo should be current. He said that too many times police ask for a current photo and are handed one of a child significantly younger.
The program was started in 1996 after Amber Hagerman, the child for whom the Amber Alert was named, was abducted, and police found they did not have adequate information for their investigations.
Abductions are rare. Far more common are child runaways, particularly by teenagers. If your child runs away, an ID kit may assist law enforcement in getting them returned to you much faster.
Jensen suggests that parents maintain a kit on every child 4 to 18 years old. He suggested that parents keep the kits in a box or file they can immediately pull out if the need ever arises. He also suggests that parents keep a list of their child’s friends’ contact information or the likely places they might go if they don’t come home.
Anyone who has questions is invited to contact the Sheriff’s Office or go to http://www.childidprogram.com. See picture of kit below.