Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch and football legends Mike Singletary and Wesley Walls announced a partnership with the National Child ID Program to provide privately funded child ID kits to 41,750 students in kindergarten across the state.
“Last year, in Mississippi alone, 138 children were reported missing to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Twenty-seven of those Mississippi children are still missing today,” said Attorney General Lynn Fitch. “When a child goes missing, time is of the essence. The sooner law enforcement can locate the child, the better the chances for a safe recovery. The Mississippi Child ID program will help make that happen.”
“I am humbled by the leadership of Attorney General Lynn Fitch and her dedication to provide this gift of safety to the families of Mississippi. She is taking major steps to ensure safety in her state and leading the charge to protect Mississippi’s children. I am honored to join with her on this partnership on the launch of the Mississippi Child ID Program,” said National Child ID Program Executive Director Kenny Hansmire.
“Attorney General Lynn Fitch shows incredible leadership in her role as Attorney General and her steadfast dedication to protecting the children of Mississippi. It is an honor to work with her on this program and I look forward to seeing this great work she will continue to do in Mississippi,” Mike Singletary said about the partnership.
The kits, which will be free to Mississippi kindergarteners’ families thanks to the generosity of Walmart and the Southern Company, include an inkless fingerprinting kit, a DNA sample collection, physical identification information, a place for a recent photo, and easy-to-use instructions. Parents can complete the kit and provide it to law enforcement quickly and easily should the unthinkable happen and their child goes missing.
Each year, over half a million children go missing. In Mississippi, about 5 per 100,000 people are trafficked in Mississippi. Unfortunately, 25% of all human trafficking cases include a child and minority populations are three times more likely to go missing or be abducted.
This year, the National Child ID Program celebrates its 25th anniversary. The program was created by football coaches in 1997 following the abduction and death of Amber Hagerman, the namesake for the Amber Alert. Since then, over 75 million child ID kits have been distributed nationally via public-private partnerships.