'A gift of safety': Kindergarteners across Florida to receive free Child ID kit

Attorney General Ashley Moody announced that free Child ID kits will be distributed to the parents of every kindergarten student in Florida.

According to the National Child Identification Program, more than 800,000 children go missing each year in the US – one every 40 seconds. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said more than 25,000 incidences of missing children were reported to Florida law enforcement agencies in 2021.

"This is a gift of safety from the AG's office. It does not go into a database," National Child ID Program Executive Director Kenny Hansmire said. "We hope to God it's never used, but if they ever need to turn it over to law enforcement, we want them to have it."

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Child ID kits make it easier for parents to collect identifying information by easily recording the physical characteristics, photographs, fingerprints and DNA of their children on identification cards. They are kept at home by the parent or guardian if ever needed. 

"It's for parents to use should the unthinkable happen in an urgent situation. These kits will help law enforcement quickly find children," Moody said.

Law enforcement officials said each second counts in these investigations, and the kits are an important tool in finding missing children.

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"When something like this happens, whether it is a runaway or the worst-case scenario, a child abduction, time is of the essence," Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said. "Literally minutes can make the difference between success and failure."

Approximately 250,000 kits will be provided to all Florida school districts for distribution to public, private and charter schools for the parents of kindergarten students.