ATTORNEY GENERAL RAOUL ANNOUNCES PILOT PROGRAM WITH NATIONAL CHILD IDENTIFICATION PROGRAM
Partnership With Raoul’s Office to Provide 175,000 Kits to Illinois Kindergarteners
Chicago — As children around Illinois are out of school for the holidays, Attorney General Kwame Raoul today announced his office is expanding the resources it offers parents and guardians to help keep children safe.
Attorney General Raoul was joined by NFL Hall of Fame Player and Coach Mike Singletary to announce the Attorney General’s office is partnering with the National Child Identification Program (NCIDP) in a pilot program that will provide Illinois families with free child ID kits. Raoul’s office, working with the NCIDP, local law enforcement agencies and school officials, will facilitate the distribution of the kits free of charge to tens of thousands of Illinois families. Raoul also announced, as part of his office’s continued work to protect children when they are online or using social media, a new website that will allow parents, guardians and educators to access resources that help children and teens have healthy online interactions.
“My office is committed to giving parents access to resources to keep their children safe, for instance by offering trainings and encouraging involvement in children and teens’ online activity and awareness of who their children are interacting with virtually, because even though a child is at home, parents may not know who they are really interacting with virtually,” Raoul said. “Our partnership with the National Child Identification Program is just the latest initiative as part of that effort. We are providing these kits hoping that families never need them, but should the unthinkable happen, parents can be prepared with the vital information needed to help law enforcement locate their missing child.”
“There is nothing more important than our children, and I am proud that General Raoul is part of our team,” Coach Singletary said.
“We commend General Raoul on his leadership in protecting the children of Illinois,” National Child Identification Program Executive Director Kenny Hansmire said.
As part of the pilot program, Raoul’s office and the NCIDP will work with local law enforcement and school districts to distribute free child ID kits to approximately 175,000 public and private school kindergarteners around Illinois. Families should expect to begin receiving kits during the spring semester. While the program will initially provide kits to families of kindergarteners, if successful, it could be expanded to include older students during the school year starting in 2022. The NCIDP has worked with sponsors, such as Exelon, the IBEW, MidAmerican Energy and Johnson & Johnson to ensure that kits are provided at no cost to families or the state of Illinois.
“ComEd’s commitment to our customers goes far beyond keeping the lights on, as we consider it our responsibility to improve the quality of life for people in the communities where we live, work and serve,” said ComEd CEO Gil Quiniones. “ComEd and our parent company, Exelon, are proud to partner with the Illinois Attorney General, the Safety Blitz Foundation and others to ensure that more parents and families have access to a potentially life-saving resource.”
The National Child Identification Program is dedicated to reducing the number of missing children by providing parents and guardians with a tool they can use to protect their children. The at-home ID kits are approved by the FBI and allow parents and guardians to easily record the physical characteristics and fingerprints of their children on identification cards. None of the information is made public, and kits should be stored in a secure place at home. If needed, parents and guardians can provide the vital information in theses kits to law enforcement in the event their child is missing.
The National Child Identification Program was created in 1997 by the American Football Coaches Association. In the program’s first two years, nearly 7 million ID kits were distributed through stadiums, churches and community events. Currently, more than 70 million kits have been distributed nationwide. More information about the National Child Identification Program is available at ChildIDProgram.com.
Along with providing families with access to ID kits to enhance protection when children are not at home, Raoul announced, a one-stop-shop were adults can access resources to help children stay safe online. The Attorney General’s new Online Safe Online Smart website will allow families and educators to access free information to help children understand the potential impact their online choices have in the real world, and help guardians and educators recognize the signs of online bullying or grooming.
The new Online Safe Online Smart website will also offer more information about the free ongoing webinars offered by the Attorney General’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which give families and educators additional tools to help children develop healthy internet habits. The webinars teach parents and guardians about the apps children and teens may be using; how to help youth navigate aggressive online behavior, both as a victim and perpetrator; how to help children foster healthy online interactions; and how to identify signs that a child or student may have been a victim of online child solicitation. Families will be able visit the Online Safe Online Smart website to find a full webinar schedule or to register for upcoming webinars. Past webinars are also available on the website.