Attorney General Alan Wilson, USC football Head Coach Shane Beamer, Sen. Katrina Shealy, Hall of Fame football coach Frank Beamer, NFL Hall of Fame players Mike Singletary and Randy White, and NFL Alumni Association CEO Brad Edwards kicked off South Carolina’s Child ID program April 14.
“As a parent, it is important that we talk to our children about stranger dangers, but also that we have a game plan should the worst nightmare happen and our children go missing,” Attorney General Wilson said. “1,000 children go missing every day in the United States and 11 children go missing every day in South Carolina.”
845,000 inkless, at-home child identification kits are being distributed to all K-12 students this spring through a public-private partnership with the National Child Identification Program. Parents keep the kits at home, so they don’t go into any database. They’re only used if a child goes missing.
Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell, President of the South Carolina Sheriffs Association, said, “This kit takes less than two minutes to complete and will contain a vast majority of the components we need to reunite a missing child with their family.”
Senator Katrina Shealy led the bi-partisan legislative effort, along with Senators Ronnie Cromer, Michael Gambrell, Larry Grooms, Penry Gustafson, Darrell Jackson, Michael Johnson, Josh Kimbrell, Gerald Malloy, J. Thomas McElveen, Nikki Setzler, Scott Talley, and Young Tom.
In 2019, SLED reported that there were 4,378 missing children in the state of South Carolina, which is roughly 11 children per day.
Nationally, over 1,000 children go missing each day, said Alex Schelble, SLED missing person’s information coordinator. Historically, the number fluctuates between 365,000 per year during COVID and between 480,000 and upwards of 800,000 per year.
The National Child ID Program has provided over 75 million child ID kits since its inception in 1997, when football coaches decided to launch the National Child ID Program in response to the abduction and death of Amber Hagerman, the namesake for the Amber Alert.