Sen. Cruz Introduces National Child Identification Act
As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I, this week introduced the National Child Identification Act, legislation that would authorize the use of federal grant funds from the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 to provide child identification kits to local law enforcement for distribution to parents of children who attend kindergarten or elementary school.
Thousands of children go missing every year, whether they run away from home or are kidnapped, and in the precious hours after they are reported missing, law enforcement officers often do not have the information they need to identify the missing child as they begin their search. That’s why I’m proud to introduce the National Child Identification Act, which would help law enforcement officers distribute child ID kits to parents in their communities. These kits remain in parents’ possession, keeping their children’s identification information entirely private, but at the same time equipping parents to be able to work with law enforcement to find their missing children should the unthinkable happen. Keeping kids safe through commonsense measures is a bipartisan issue, and I am hopeful that Congress will pass this bill.
My introduction of the National Child Identification Act is part of a grassroots effort to expand child identification initiatives, including the National Child Identification Program, which was started by the American Football Coaches Association in 1997 when child ID kits were distributed to local parents through college and NFL stadiums. Since then, numerous organizations that include the FBI, Sheriff’s Associations, Governors and State Attorney Generals have partnered with the National Child Identification Program, and many former football coaches and players are supportive of the National Child Identification Act.
“It’s heartbreaking to think about one child falling into the hands of kidnappers - let alone the dramatic increase in numbers of missing children we’re currently faced with - especially in the African American communities. I’m so thankful for the National Child ID Kit because of its partnership with law enforcement in the most tragic of circumstances, yet our children’s identifying information remains safe in the parents’ possession. As parents of adult children, Kim and I are most thankful for the National Child Identification Act in time for our grandchildren to benefit by,” said Michael Singletary, a Pro Football Hall of Fame Player and Coach.
“As a father and grandfather, I can’t think of anything more important than protecting children and this bill will help do that,” said Nolan Ryan, a World Series Champion and Baseball Hall of Fame Pitcher.
“This bill is an essential element in the daily fight to keep children safe,” said Daryl Johnston, a three-time Super Bowl Champion and Fox NFL game analyst. “As a parent, I can't imagine the horror of having your child go missing. The Child Identification kit is an essential tool in the process to help return these children home safely.”
“I can’t imagine a more important bill than one that will ensure our kids being as safe as possible,” said Marv Levy, a former Buffalo Bills Coach in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “There are a lot of things in this world we need to keep our kids safe from and having Child ID kits in homes makes it possible to get them back if they are ever missing. Pass this bill if you care about kids. Period.”
“When a child goes missing, every second counts in the search to bring them home safely,” said Leigh Steinberg, an NFL agent. “Having fingerprints readily available allows law enforcement to spend those precious seconds tracking down a child’s location – not their fingerprints. This bill is paramount to bringing missing children home safely.”
“As parents, nothing matters more to Michelle and I than keeping our kids safe,” said Jason Witten, NFL Tight End for the Las Vegas Raiders. “This bill certainly helps do that. No one ever wants to think about having a missing child, but you will be glad you had a Child ID kit if you are faced with that nightmare.”
“The world we live in is a dangerous place and keeping children safe is paramount,” said Ricky Williams, a Heisman Trophy winner. “This bill is essential because it provides free Child ID kits that are the key to beginning an immediate search.”
“I am a father and I can’t think of anything scarier than having a missing child,” said Ivan ‘Pudge’ Rodriguez, a World Series Champion and Baseball Hall of Fame Catcher. “This bill will allow law enforcement to start a search immediately and thus have a much better chance of finding the child and bringing them home safely. This is important!”
- According to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center, there were 30,618 active missing person records for juveniles under the age of 18 as of December 31, 2019.
- Law enforcement often does not have the resources or capacity to collect and store a large amount of identification information related to individual children.
- The National Child Identification Program, a non-profit community-service initiative, has been working in recent decades to distribute child identification kits to parents for free.
- Each identification kit contains fingerprinting materials, DNA collection swabs, and other resources to allow parents and guardians to easily record information about their children on cards that are kept at their homes to be shared with authorities if ever needed in order to locate a missing child.
- When DNA samples are stored safely at home, law enforcement officers can spend the crucial first hours during a missing-person case searching for the child, rather than searching for the child’s DNA samples.