HARRISBURG – State Sens. Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington) and Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) renewed legislative efforts today to help provide a new tool to reunify lost children with their parents.
The senators announced they are seeking support for legislation that would provide parents with free identification kits that include fingerprinting materials, DNA collection swabs and other information that can be used to help identify the child in case of an emergency.
To protect the personal information of children and families, the information would be stored securely by parents and would not be entered in any sort of state or national database, the senators said.
“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.”
“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 Child Reunification Act is part of a national grassroots effort to expand child identification programs. The community safety initiative was started by the American Football Coaches Association in 1997 in response to the abduction of Amber Hagerman, for whom the Amber Alert was named.
Across the nation, these efforts have been known as the Greene-Trumka Child Reunification Act, honoring the longtime support of Pittsburgh Steelers legend Joe Greene and the late AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Crime Information Center, there were 30,618 active missing person records for juveniles under the age of 18 as of Dec. 31, 2019. More than 500,000 children in the United States go missing each year – one child every 40 seconds, on average.
CONTACT: Jason Thompson (Martin)
Katrina Hanna (Bartolotta)