January 31, 2023

Missing children is a serious problem today everywhere. In the U.S. alone nearly 2000 children are reported missing every day. A free regional program called the Missouri Child Protection Program (MoCHIP) helps to prevent that unimaginable tragedy from happening. It also helps to recover missing children rapidly. Its provisions are reviewed below.

What is MoCHIP?

First, MoCHIP is not to be confused with ModChip, which is a digital program for controlling or limiting video games. Nor is it a surgical implanting of an electronic microchip under the skin or in the earlobe of children to trace them via satellite signals. Instead, MoCHIP is a packet-information tool for protecting families from the ongoing problem of missing children. It is free of charge. At this time, over 81,000 children have been registered in Missouri and its surrounding areas over the last four years. This kind of program is also expanding to other regions.

How does it work?

Basically, the compiled information packet comprises the careful documentation of three things about the child in question: his or her known facts, identifying features, and social associations each child in a family. It also provides the following items for each one.

  • digital fingerprints
  • dental bite (tooth-prints)
  • DNA saliva sample
  • emergency contacts
  • digital photographs

The tabulated information is then loaded onto a mini-CD. Additionally, two laminated ID cards are made for each child and family. The child in question could carry one of the ID cards for informational and protective purposes. In any case, the family takes the compiled information and ID-cards home for safe keeping together with specific instructions on how to prevent potential abductions, and what to do if their child should ever be missing. Should that unfortunate situation ever occur, this information (the CD) is immediately given to the law-enforcement agency for rapid followup action. For the younger-than-teenage children, the Amber Alert system will also be activated immediately.

The sponsoring organization of MoCHIP keeps none of the personal information on file for itself, except for a participation record. The compiled personal information is kept privately with the family who participated for emergency use. However, this information can and should be updated every few years, which many families can do on their own by adding recent photographs of the child and other new information. Additionally, these families could teach their children certain self-defense moves and what to do if it appears they are being abducted by friend or foe.

Who can take part?

Any child from the age of 0-21, who can get to a MoCHIP registration event. These events are generally held at festivals, state fairgrounds, theaters, and other public gathering places.

How much information are we talking about?

The information collected for each child includes the child’s names, nicknames, social security #, birth date, place of birth, home address w/zip-code and phone number, child’s phone number, gender, predominate race or mix, eye and hair colors, height, weight, distinguishing marks, parental or guardian information w/addresses and phone numbers, doctor information w/address and phone number, medical condition and related needs if any, dentist information w/address and phone number, known clubs, youth groups, and associations, and an emergency contact besides the parents, e.g., an uncle, grandparent, or neighbor. If the blood type is known, it can also be added.

Important fact about teenagers.

Teenagers appear to be the most frequent victims of both non-family abductions and typical kidnappings. In one study of the missing ones reported, 81% were 12 or older (beyond puberty), which could be contrary to a popular belief that only young children disappear.

Conclusion.

Most families and parents want to protect their children beyond the normal means, especially if their children walk or ride a bicycle to school, or if they are unaccompanied by adults at other times. Thus, having their vital identifying information documented, compiled, and safely stored where they or the school and law-enforcement agencies can retrieve it rapidly is a good idea. Also, the child’s individually carried ID-card itself, which shows their MoCHIP registration, can deter certain would-be abductors.

Further information on child protection can be found at the sites below. Do-it-yourself identification kits can also be found or purchased at other sites on the Internet.