Ident-A-Kid Identification Service aims to protect children, help parents
Most parents know their child's age, and the color of their hair and eyes. But many are guessing when it comes to specific height and weight, and those details -- along with a current photograph -- can be critical when trying to locate a missing child.
A nationwide company called Ident-A-Kid Services of America was at Bible Baptist School in Shiremanstown to help parents compile that vital information.
At the request of families, about a third of the elementary students were weighed, measured, photographed and fingerprinted for a laminated ID card that can be carried by parents or shared electronically. The event was held late last year.
"It's a good service they're offering," said Kim Oakes, whose two children attend Bible Baptist.
"If a child was lost, it would be a great tool to help find a child quickly. And it's great that you could get it updated every year," she said.
When first approached by Ident-A-Kid, Bible Baptist Elementary Principal Lynette Tress was unsure about the program. She asked the Shiremanstown Police Department to look into the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based company.
Officer Jerry Barnes concluded that "it's a great program, especially for the cost."
He said that the information collected could save time when trying to find a missing child.
"At least you have something really close to go by; even though kids grow and change you can update it yearly," he said of the ID cards.
Rich Gold and his wife Joyce Starsinic Gold, who have two grown children, are program directors for Ident-A-Kids' central PA region, which includes Adams, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lycoming, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder, Union, and York counties.
At Bible Baptist, the process was similar to the method used to take class pictures. The children were curious about the fingerprints, but took it all in stride. As Joyce Gold photographed the children, Rich Gold guided them through the line for measurements.
"We collect the data, just Rich and I are the only ones with access," Joyce Gold explained, as she entered information into a laptop computer. The fingerprints were transmitted digitally by a connected device so no ink was involved.
She said that the ID cards would be produced within a few weeks and returned to the families in envelopes they completed.
"After 60 days, the software automatically purges all the data," she said. Even if someone requests an additional card after that, it's not possible.
Joyce Gold joined the company two years ago after searching for a business where she and her husband could work together. He joined in April after working as a hotel manager.
"It had to be something meaningful and worthwhile," she said about her job search.
"I would have appreciated having this for my kids," she said. "It's a safety product, not a promotional product."
Rich Gold said the main purpose of the program is "to bring an additional level of protection and immediate response card so they can have the ability to provide specific and current information to people searching for a child."
The laminated ID cards are sold for $9 each, two for $12, and four for $15. Orders of two or more also receive an electronic version, and families with two or more children can deduct $2 from each child's order. Each year, Ident-A-Kid produces about three million cards.