W.Va. AG urges support for program to locate missing, exploited children

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced he has joined a coalition of 20 attorneys general who have asked President Trump to provide funding for a crucial child protection program.

At issue is support for The National Child ID Act (HR 4172), a bipartisan piece of congressional legislation that will help both parents and law enforcement better protect children from exploitation, abduction and human trafficking.

The coalition is asking President Trump to direct that federal funds be made available for the National Child ID Program. This initiative would provide kits to easily record a child’s physical characteristics, fingerprints and DNA on identification cards that are then kept at home and fully within the control of the child’s parent or guardian.

“Statistics show that more than 800,000 children go missing each year including runaways and those abducted. That is one child gone every 40 seconds,” Attorney General Morrisey joined in writing. “The threat of our kids being victims is more immediate and grave than ever. Every time we receive an amber alert for a missing one-year-old, it illustrates the critical need for this program.”

The Child ID Kit provides no electronic tracking. Law enforcement and/or outside groups would only receive the data from a parent or guardian who chooses to provide it because of an emergency. The vital information shared would then assist efforts to locate and return a missing child.

State attorneys general could request grant funding to purchase kits for Kindergarten through 6th grade children. Each kit costs just $1.76 per child.

The Child ID Program began in 1997 with the American Football Coaches Association. It was a response to findings that parents did not have fingerprints or DNA for their children in case of an emergency or abduction. Since then, more than 54 million ID Kits have been distributed through stadiums, churches, schools, law enforcement agencies and community events.

West Virginia joined the Utah-led effort along with the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas.

A copy of the letter can be viewed here.

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com