HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Pennsylvania Sens. Scott Martin (R-13) and Camera Bartolotta (R-46) said this week that they plan to introduce legislation the help reunite lost children with their families, according to a press release from the Senate Republican Communications Office.
The legislation, dubbed the Child Reunification Act, would provide kindergarteners’ parents and guardians with free identification kits to gather and store fingerprints, DNA collection swabs, and other important information, according to the release.
That information could be helpful if the child were to disappear, the release says.
“This tool, while hopefully never used, will be critical in helping law enforcement locate a missing child,” Martin said in the release. “It’s a simple step that can save precious time and resources so that investigators can focus on the task at hand – locating missing children to reunite families.”
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More than 500,000 children in the United States disappear each year, which is the equivalent to one child every 40 seconds, according to the release. The release says that according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Crime Information Center, more than 30,000 children were actively missing as of Dec. 31, 2019.
“As a parent, I cannot imagine anything more distressing than not being able to locate either of my children who are both adults now. Especially in the case of young children, we need to have every possible tool at our disposal when that nightmare unfolds for families,” Bartolotta said in the release.
The inkless kits would be kept at home by families to be used in case of emergency, the release explains.
According to the release, 32 other states have a similar program in place, and Pennsylvania hopes to become the sixth state in the country to provide the kits to all students in kindergarten through 12th grade.