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While many people think of fingerprinting as an activity that takes place when booking individuals for specific crimes, the fact is that this approach to identification has several other important functions. Some of those processes have to do with protecting children. Here are some of the benefits associated with fingerprinting kids, both in terms of day to day activities and as a means of identification in emergency situations.
Many communities now support the idea of fingerprinting kids as a way to maintain reliable identification data that can be used in the event that the child is missing. Along with eye scans, the fingerprints can make it easier to determine the identity of a child that has been abducted and later escaped from the captor. As part of the fingerprint kit, cards that have the copy of the prints are provided to the parent or caregiver. Sets of these fingerprint ID cards can be kept at home, as well as in the child’s school records. Electronic copies can also be kept on file with law enforcement agencies via national databases, such as the one maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the United States.
Fingerprinting kids can also be helpful in situations where caregivers and children are separated as a result of some type of natural disaster. For example, if a flood devastates a community and leaves a child traumatized to the point of being incommunicative, authorities can take a set of fingerprints and compare them to prints logged with the national database. This makes it easier to determine the identity of the child and begin the process of locating and contacting relatives who are probably frantic with worry about the missing child.
In like manner, fingerprinting kids can come in very handy when parents and children are separated on a trip, such as a vacation. Parents can provide the local authorities with a copy of the prints along with a physical description of the child, which can help with the search process. Once the lost child is identified, he or she can be returned to the parents quickly, thus ending what many parents consider their worst nightmare.
Not everyone agrees with the concept of fingerprinting kids. Detractors sometimes look upon the process as an invasion of privacy, with lifelong repercussions. At the same time, proponents point to the potential dangerous situations found in many cities and towns that make the idea of fingerprinting kids both practical and important to the process of keeping children safe. As the concept of child fingerprinting becomes common in more jurisdictions around the world, there is no doubt that both the merits and the drawbacks of this approach to child security will continue to be debated.