HARRISBURG – Sens. Camera Bartolotta (R-46) and Scott Martin (R-13) said this week they will soon introduce legislation to help reunite lost children with their families.
The Child Reunification Act will provide parents and guardians of kindergarteners with free identification kits to gather and store fingerprints, DNA collection swabs and other information that could prove pivotal should their child ever disappear.
“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. “This bill would have a real impact on law enforcement’s ability to locate a missing child without storing any personal information in a database by providing parents the opportunity to have this information at home in the unfortunate circumstance they need it.”
“This tool, while hopefully never used, will be critical in helping law enforcement locate a missing child,” Martin said. “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.”
The inkless kits will not be stored in a database, but rather kept at home by families for expedited emergency use, if ever needed. Thirty-two other states offer a similar program and Pennsylvania hopes to become the sixth nationwide to provide kits to all students in grades K-12.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Crime Information Center, more than 30,000 juveniles were actively missing as of Dec. 31, 2019. More than 500,000 children in the United States disappear each year, akin to one child every 40 seconds.
Terry Trego (Martin)