Lt. Governor Hall-Long Joins Professional Football Legends to Announce New Partnership to Locate Missing Children in Delaware
The joint initiative with the National Child Identification Program will provide Delaware families and law enforcement with new tools to locate missing children
NEW CASTLE, DE- Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long joined NFL Hall of Famer Randy White, former Philadelphia Eagles Pro Bowler Jeremiah Trotter and state education and law enforcement leaders at the Garfield Park Police Athletic League on Wednesday to announce a new statewide initiative aimed at better identifying and locating missing children in Delaware.
The new partnership between the state of Delaware and the National Child Identification Program will provide 156,000 at-home child ID kits to Delaware families beginning this year. The ID kits will feature an inkless fingerprint solution, DNA storage, a place for medical/dental records, and a section to provide details about a child’s physical description. The kits are already being used in several states to give law enforcement critical information about a missing child.
On average, over 1,000 children are reported missing each day in the United States. In 2022, 58 children were reported missing in Delaware according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
“When a child goes missing, every second counts,” said Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “These ID kits provide law enforcement with a new tool to locate missing children more quickly and provide Delaware families with the ability to be better prepared for the unimaginable. This partnership will help reunite families and save lives.”
“I can’t imagine the helplessness parents feel when their child is missing. But I do know that when it comes to protecting our children, no precaution or tool in our playbook is too small,” said House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst, who also is executive director of the Police Athletic League of Delaware. “These ID kits will provide parents with all the critical, identifying information about their children at their fingertips should they go missing. Hopefully, they will never need them, but the kits will be invaluable in an emergency. I’m grateful that we’re able to provide this extra step of preparedness to Delaware families.”
The new initiative will feature public service announcements from sports legends, educational materials for students, and free ID kits for Delaware families.
“As a father and grandfather, few things are scarier than a missing child,” said Randy White, NFL Hall of Famer. “It is an honor to partner with Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long to protect the children in my home state of Delaware. Just as I was a defender on the field during my time with the Dallas Cowboys, Lieutenant Governor Hall-Long is a strong defender of Delaware’s children and families. This state is lucky to have her on their team,”
Many children who go missing each year end up in unsafe and often dangerous circumstances. It is estimated that about 30% of missing children are being trafficked across the United States.
“The safety of children in Delaware is paramount. When a child goes missing, every second counts. There is nothing more important than bringing them home. Having the Child ID Kit information available allows law enforcement and the community to focus on locating the child. These Child ID Kits are another tool to help keep them safe and allow parents to be proactive in our shared efforts to protect our children.” said Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Nathaniel McQueen, Jr.
The ID kits will be distributed to K-12 students through the Delaware Department of Education beginning May 24th, one day before the 40th annual National Missing Children’s Day. Parents will be notified about the kits before distribution begins.
“As a father and educator, I am grateful for this tool,” Secretary of Education Mark Holodick said. “When a child is missing, the speed at which we are able to respond is paramount. If families have these kits at home and prepared for an emergency, they will help law enforcement move as quickly as possible.”
The kits in Delaware were made possible thanks to the generous support of the United Auto Workers union and the Exelon Corporation in partnership with the National Child Identification Program.
“I am humbled by the dedication that Lieutenant Governor Hall-Long and Delaware’s state leaders have in serving the families of Delaware. It is a blessing to launch the Delaware Child Identification Program with her today and I look forward to providing this great gift of safety to all K-12 students this fall,” said Kenny Hansmire, Executive Director of the National Child Identification Program.