Orlando Magic superstar center and community activist Dwight Howard is asking parents to join him in an effort to protect the nation’s children.
In a partnership with the National Child I.D. Program, Dwight is turning to his social media channels to urge parents to protect their children by having a completed National Child I.D. kit in the home that includes fingerprints in the event of an emergency. Howard is asking parents to take the first step to help protect their children. By taking that first step, if the parents’ efforts reach 200,000 kits, Dwight has pledged to donate an additional 300,000 kits across the country to reach half a million American children.
“Every 40 seconds, a child in America goes missing. These statistics really hit home for me and I want to do everything I can to help protect our kids,’’ Dwight said. “As a parent, I know none of us ever wants to imagine our children in these situations, but it’s important that we’re prepared, not scared. The I.D. kit is just one tool for parents to have, and it can be critical in helping to get a missing child home safely. I’m also excited that my logo will appear in a child’s fingerprint as part of the I.D. kit and that logo will help protect tens of thousands of children.’’
Each child I.D. kit purchased through the special Dwight Howard page on the NCIDP website will include an inkless fingerprint kit that reveals the D12 Foundation logo when parents collect their child’s first fingerprint. These limited edition kits are only available through the National Child Identification Program, which is the official community service program of the American Football Coaches Association. The AFCA is a national organization comprised of all NCAA, NFL and high school coaches. The program’s inkless child I.D. kit is the only one recognized by the FBI.
Child I.D. kits include a DNA collection envelope with DNA swabs and an inkless fingerprinting card, step-by-step instructions detailing how to take a fingerprint, an area to practice fingerprinting, a standard fingerprint area that can be used by law enforcement, a foil pouch containing inkless fingerprinting solution, sections for recording a child’s physical description and identifying marks, sections for recording doctor’s phone numbers and a space for a current photograph. All information is kept at home by parents and guardians for easy access to important information to be shared with law enforcement in case a child is missing.
“When a child goes missing, every second is critical,’’ said Kenny Hansmire, NCIDP Executive Director. “By recording a child’s fingerprints and important data in advance, parents are able to work effectively with law enforcement to find their child. We’re thrilled to be working with an athlete like Dwight, who obviously cares about his community and is stepping up to help protect children across the country.’’
In America, 800,000 children are reported missing every year (one child every 40 seconds), according to AFCA/FBI research. Some 450,000 of those children run away, 300,000 are abducted by family members and more than 58,000 are abducted by non-family members.
Yet, when the National Child I.D. Program was launched in 1997, less than two percent of parents had copies of their child’s fingerprints to use in locating their child in case of an emergency. This was of particular importance as FBI studies determined fingerprinting to be one of the most effective tools in identifying a missing person, as everyone’s fingerprints are unique and don’t change over time like physical appearance.
To date, through NCIDP, the American Football Coaches Association and the FBI, more than 30 million ID kits have been distributed across the country. The National Child I.D. program’s goal is to reach all 60 million children in the United States. The NCIDP national partners include the National Sheriffs Association, Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI and FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association.
For more information about NCIDP and to purchase a Child I.D. kit, parents and guardians can visit Dwight Howard’s page on the NCIDP website. Child ID Kits are valued at $9.95. Safety tips and additional information will also be available online. Follow @DwightHoward to retweet information regarding child safety, and share his posts on Facebook to help achieve his donation of 300,000 kits to protect the nation’s children.