Child identification kits aim to lessen number of missing kids

PHOTO BY LANA BRADSTREAM A father of a Marshalltown Community School District elementary student takes the fingerprints of his son using the National Child Identification Program kit on Wednesday night. The kit was sent home last week with students, and is to be used to document important information about children in the event they go missing.

Last week, child identification kits were sent home with Marshalltown Community School District students. The kit is in-home inkless fingerprinting, and is part of Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird’s National Child Identification Program.

Superintendent Theron Schutte said the district responded to the directive of the Attorney General, and stressed the kits are for personal use.

“Whether or not parents choose to take advantage of the kit is up to them,” he said.

When the district received instruction to distribute the kit, Schutte said he immediately requested the information also be provided in Spanish.

“I think the kits are a good idea,” he said. “It gives parents a tool in the event of an emergency or crisis. The fact that it is voluntary, and parents have the option to choose whether or not to use it is a good approach.”

With 5,000 students in the Marshalltown district, Schutte said the major issue was how to get the kits into the hands of all the parents.

“We were just told we need to do this,” he said. “It definitely cost us people’s time and money to get the kits to our virtual students, but overall, this is a good idea.”

Schutte did not know if the district would be required to send the kits out again. He added if they are, it would be better if the distribution could happen at the beginning of the year, rather than the end, due to the time and attention the effort required.

About the kits

The kits are in envelopes containing the sigil of the state attorney general, and the National Child Identification Program logo. The kit consists of a fingerprint applicator, and a card with locations to place each finger.

There is also a section in which DNA can be collected by having the child suck on a corner of the specially made card. Instructions on how to correctly use the kit are provided. The process takes roughly five minutes to complete.

Also on the card are sections in which a physical description of the child and medical and dental record locations can be written down, and a location for an updated photograph.

The finished card is not turned in nor collected by any entity. It should be kept at home in a cool, dry, safe place. The card containing the vital information should be used if a child goes missing, and it can be given to law enforcement, as it will have 90 percent of the information authorities need.

The kits are approved by the FBI.

About the program

According to the National Identification Child Program, 1,000 children go missing in the United States every day. The program is intended to change that by providing parents with a tool to protect their children. So far, almost 70 million kits have been distributed since the program’s inception in 1997.


Contact Lana Bradstream

at 641-753-6611 ext. 210 or



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