Fingerprinting has become the gold standard amongst law enforcement, schools, religious institutions and community groups around the country; they have joined forces to fingerprint children as a means of identifying them should they go missing. Nearly 800,000 children are reported missing each year, according to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The US Congress passed the Missing Children’s Assistance Act in 1984, which helps to establish the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Missing children include those taken by a parent during a divorce or child custody fight, and runaways, as well as the rare but real child kidnappings.
Having your child’s fingerprints on file is important should they go missing for any reason. Fingerprints are unique to each person, as they are comprised of a pattern of ridges and loops that no other individual has. In the eighty years of fingerprint classification, no identical sets have ever been found. Your fingerprints are present at birth and, though your hand and fingers continue to grow, the relative position of the loops and ridges remains the same throughout your life.
Fingerprinting cannot prevent abduction or keep a child from running away but it does provide an opportunity to talk to them about personal safety. The basic rules you should instill in your child include;
- Checking with a parent or a trusted adult before going anywhere
- Never accept anything from a stranger or get into a vehicle of someone that they do not know
- When playing outside or walking to another location they should always be with a friend
- Telling a parent or another adult if anyone makes them feel scared or unhappy
- Say no if someone tries to touch or hurt them, then make a lot of noise and run to tell someone right away
Law enforcement agencies also suggest having a current photo of your child. If possible, the photo should be a digital version in order to make it easy to distribute throughout the community and nationally. In addition, Illinois is a member of the AMBER Alert Plan, which brings together local, state and federal law enforcement agencies with broadcasters and other media in order to assist in the search and safe recovery of a missing child. The Illinois Amber Alert site http://www.amberillinois.org offers links and activities for children and their families.
Fingerprinting your child, paired with increased public awareness and continued collaboration with law enforcement agencies, can help to keep our children safe in this fast paced world.
Ankin Law Office LLC offers free fingerprinting kits to the community; please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address, email and phone number and we will send you one of our fingerprinting kits.