Better safe than sorry; Child I.D. kits are just a good idea
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Better safe than sorry; Child I.D. kits are just a good idea

Date: October 30, 2007
By: Courtney Cox
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: After the recovery of Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby in Kirkwood last winter, the demand for child identification kits has soared. Courtney Cox has more. RunTime:
OutCue: SOC

Nick Cichielo has witnessed the impact a child identification kit can have on a missing child case.

Cichielo is the state coordinator for the masonic run Missouri Child Identification Program, known as MoCHIP.

Actuality:  MOCHIP1.WAV
Run Time: 00:30

Description:"Here is Missouri, last December a parent called panicking that her 16 year old daughter was missing. She'd went through the program. We told her to hand the envelope over to the police. The police took the disc. It [an alert] was issued and four hours later, fortunately it was not an abduction,it was a runaway, as the result of the efforts, as a result of what we supplied, they were able to find that child in four hours."

MoCHIP supplies families with digital photos, fingerprints, and dental impressions on a disc with emergency contacts and information.

Several organizations in the state provide different variations of these kits.  

Missouri law enforcement say it's better to be safe than sorry, when it comes to the safety of children.

Captain Tim Hull is the Public Information Director for the Missouri Highway Patrol.

Actuality:  CPTHULL1.WAV
Run Time: 00:09
Description: "All of those kits are a little bit different in nature but are very good, a useful tool in helping law enforcement in should that  child go missing."

 

While dental impressions and fingerprints may prove useful, Nancy McBride of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says recent, candid photos of children can be vital for recovery.

 

Actuality:  MCBRIDE1.WAV
Run Time: 00:09
Description: "Certainly photos are very, very important and we know that one out of six children who is featured in a photograph is actually recovered as a direct result of that."

The kits have evolved since the days of Polaroids at county fairs.

As technology advances, so do the kits; some now including child DNA. 

The science is now available to insert computer chips into animals to recover lost pets.

Cichielo thinks this technology may carry over to the recovery of children.

 

Actuality:  MOCHIP2.WAV
Run Time: 00:07
Description: "Ten years, twenty years, no one can tell, but I think in time there will be systems to put chips into children."
 
More information about child identification kits is available MoCHIP.org or by contacting local law enforcement.

From the state capitol, I'm Courtney Cox.