A few years ago, I helped manage the work that Microsoft did as part of its contribution in combatting child pornography and rescuing missing children.
Much of that work was with law enforcement agencies around the world and also with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
That was where I learned that every year, almost 800,000 children under the age of 18 go missing. That means in a given 24 hour period, about 2,100 kids are reported missing each day in the United States.
In the time it will take you to finish reading this article, another child would have been reported missing.
Of course, these are ballpark numbers that change from year to year. But not by much – which is the disturbing thing.
So when the NCMEC asks every family to have current head-and-shoulders color photographs of the children in the household, they are dead serious.
Photographs, and any descriptive information, should be updated every six months or more often if the child’s appearance changes due to loss of tooth or a change in hairstyle.
That was why at this year’s Woodinville Spring Safety & Wellness Fair on April 4, we are having the good folks from My ID Club show up whose parents want a good and current photo taken of their kids.
This service is provided for free by the King County Police Union.
The photo, along with a thumbprint, will then be put on two cards, along with any other information that parents want to write on the cards, such contact information and allergy details.
The cards are done in about 2 minutes. After the photo is taken, as well as an optional thumbprint, parents then write in as much or as little information as they feel comfortable with putting down.
To protect the child’s information, none of the information is recorded in a database, making it impossible for the information to be accessed without your permission.
The cards can also be shared with trusted caregivers, such as relatives or babysitters, so that they have the necessary information.
Besides providing a current picture of your child, having a free ID done also gives first responders (like our firefighters, paramedics and EMTs) quick information when they are attending to a child.
It also makes it easier to reunite lost children with their parents.
The MY ID CLUB program was created in 1997 by the police union in Seattle. Since then, the program has completed over 1,700 events in 55 cities, issuing over 400,000 ID cards.
If you do not come to the fair for the free pancakes and ice cream, you should at least bring your kids to get their ID cards done.
To register for the event, click here.