Free child safety program gives peace of mind to mom and dad

In 1999, about 800,000 children younger than 18 were reported missing. That's according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's most recent study.

What if one of those children was your daughter or your son? In this panic situation, would you be able to give police all the information they needed to find them? Well, a free program makes sure you can.

The program is called the Michigan Child Identification Program. The program provides families with everything they need in case their child goes missing and an Amber Alert is needed.

Each child will go through a process where they will get a dental impression and a CD that contains a photo, video, digital fingerprints and vital information. Parents or guardians of children who want to participate have to be present and fill out a permission slip for the child to receive this service. It only takes about 10 minutes and it’s FREE.

Children who do participate are asked to repeat the process every two years to make sure they have the most up to date information.

While this program focuses on children, it is not just for children. Anyone of any age can stop by and get this done. Also, even though this is a program in Michigan they will not turn anyone away.

One of the biggest worries is that the information that is being taken will be kept and passed to other agencies, but Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation Community Outreach Director Chris Takacs says that isn't true.

"There is actually a screen in there that before we shut the computer off or go to the next kid, I can show the parent in real time and it says, "when you click this all the information is gone" and they see that leave the screen," says Takacs.

This program will be at several events around Michigan starting Tuesday. Tuesday it will be at Grove Park in Berrien Springs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. as part of the National Night Out program. If you can’t make it, you can participate in this program at the Berrien County Fairgrounds, 9122 Old U.S. 31, during Youth Fair hours. The program is part of Berrien County Youth Fair Law Enforcement Day activities.

For more information on other events, click here.

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