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When a child is abducted, time is of the essence.
Law enforcers need an accurate photo and physical description of an abducted child to conduct a search correctly, and the sooner they have it, the better. But JuliAnna Wynne knows how difficult and emotional such a situation can be for parents.
"There is not a database for all of our children; there is only the database at The National Center of Missing Children if they are missing, which most people are not aware of," Wynne said. "It is so important to educate (parents ahead of time), so they are always prepared to show all information at the scene, not an hour later when too much time has passed and it is impossible to get on the right track in recovering the child."
For this reason, Wynne became owner of Mississippi's Ident-A-Kid program, and she will make her annual visit to Starkville Academy at 9 a.m. October 11 to offer parents wallet-sized, laminated cards with children's photos, physical descriptions, safety information and digital fingerprints.
The card is similar to a driver's license, Wynne said, and it can be useful not only in the event of abduction but also for other emergencies, travel and governmental and banking issues. The program is optional for SA parents, she said, and the cards are designed for parents to keep with them.
"There are forms that go home (for the parent to fill out) just like with a school picture day, and I am there at the school on the program day to take the child's picture, get their height and weight and also get a scanned fingerprint," Wynne said. "The program is very organized and quick at the school. I always tell parents that bring other children to be there early, beacuse I am usually finished at the school in about two hours. That all depends, too, on how many children bring their forms back."
These cards cost $7 each, Wynne said, with a three-card package available for $12 and five cards available for $15. She said she offers the packages so that parents and other caretakers can all have the cards' information ready and available for each child.
"The FBI and local law enforcement recommend this, as well as updating every year," Wynne said. "That is why I am back every year at the same time."
Wynne said every card also comes with an E-Card, a cellular phone application Ident-A-Kid introduced two years ago. Parents receive this application a week after they receive the physical card from the school, she said, but the application is not perfected yet.
"E-Card does have its faults in our state," Wynne said. "Every cellular phone company will send the E-Card except C Spire. Before ... when they were Cellular South, they did not have the 4G capability. I am hoping by next year that will change, and they will be able to send them out."
Ident-A-Kid is a nationwide franchise, Wynne said, and it has been active for 25 years, with branches in most states. Wynne said she has administered Mississippi's Ident-A-Kid program for the past 12 years, and Starkville Academy has partnered with her every year since the beginning.
"I really enjoy seeing everyone there each year," Wynne said. "I have talked with the public school system a couple of times, but it was hard to get the program started, and to be honest, I have so many schools wanting the program I have to move on. There (are) not enough days for me in the school year, and I am booked up all year, each year."