HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania State Senators Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington) and Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) renewed legislative efforts today to help provide a tool that will aid in reuniting lost children with their parents.
The Senators are seeking support from legislation in providing parents with free identification kits. These kits will include fingerprinting materials, DNA collection swabs, and other information that can be used to help identify the child, in case of an emergency.
“When a child goes missing, every second and every detail counts,” Martin said. “Providing this resource to parents will give law enforcement every opportunity to locate a missing child and return them to their family to prevent future tragedies.”
The information will be stored securely by parents and wouldn’t be entered in a database, according to the Senators.
“A child going missing is a nightmare scenario for parents, and families in this terrible situation need to provide personal identifying information about their child to law enforcement as quickly as possible,” Bartolotta said. “It is crucial for families to have this tool available, even if we hope they never need to use it.”
The Child Reunification Act is part of a national grassroots effort to expand child identification programs. The American Football Coaches Association introduced the initiative back in 1997, in response to the abduction of Amber Hagerman. (Hence the term AMBER alert).
These efforts across the nation have been known as the Greene-Trumka Child Reunification Act, which honors the support of Joe Greene from the Pittsburgh Steelers and AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka.
There was a total of 30,618 active missing person records for juveniles under the age of 18 since December 31, 2019, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Crime Information Center.
More than 500,000 children in the United States go missing every year, that roughly one child every 40 seconds.