Home News Stories 2006 July How to Protect Your Kids with ID Kits

How to Protect Your Kids with ID Kits

A Message for Parents
How to Protect Your Kids with ID Kits


Silhouettes of adult male, female, and childA child disappears in a crowd at the fair. A toddler wanders out an open door. A teen doesn’t return from the mall. Every year, hundreds of thousands of kids in the U.S. are reported “missing.”

Recently, we talked about what the FBI does to find missing and abducted children. What can you as parents do to help us?

Here’s one important suggestion: have information that helps identify your child ready to hand to law enforcement the instant you report your child missing.

We recommend a kit distributed through the National Child Identification Program started by the American Football Coaches Association in 1997. The FBI has been a partner in this program since 2002.

Each package includes:

  • All you need to take inkless fingerprints;
  • Cards for detailing your child’s physical descriptions—including a body map for pointing out scars, birthmarks, and other identifying features;
  • A place to keep current photos; and
  • More recently, an easy-to-use swab to take and store a small DNA sample.

Recording your child’s fingerprints is particularly important. Why? Not only because everyone’s fingerprints are unique, but also because they don’t change over time like physical appearances. We also recommend that you update the photos of your kids in the kits at least once a year.

Are the fingerprints or other information in the kits kept by the FBI? No! You keep the kits and fingerprints yourselves in a safe place…and provide the information to us only in case of emergency. Even then, we don’t keep the information in our records permanently without your permission.

Where can you get a kit? You can order one—for a small fee—through the National Child Identification Program website. The kits are also distributed free at select college football games across the country in partnership with local FBI offices. Check with your local FBI office to see if they are sponsoring a game this fall.

This year, we are working with the National Night Out organization, which helps communities nationwide hold anti-crime activities once a year. Along with the coaches association, we hope to set a new single-day record for distributing free identification kits during National Night Out events on August 1.

“It’s a neat program,” said Thomas E. Bush III, our assistant director for Criminal Justice Information Services, which coordinates the FBI’s involvement in the program. “It’s a great tool for parents have at their disposal to help protect their children.”

Links: Crimes Against Children | The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children