Child abduction: preparing for the worst a necessity

Oak Bay Kiwanis member Wanda Walker and Child Find B.C. executive director Steve Orcherton dirty their hands in preparation for identification clinics this weekend.

Oak Bay Kiwanis member Wanda Walker and Child Find B.C. executive director Steve Orcherton dirty their hands in preparation for identification clinics this weekend.

Child identification kits give parents peace of mind

A missing child is every parent’s worst nightmare.

And the last thing on their mind would be digging out recent photographs or personal information on your youngster.

But a Child Find B.C. identification kit could provide some ease of mind.

Kiwanis Club members are photographing and fingerprinting babies to teens under 18 free of charge at Child Find’s ‘All About Me’ clinics on Saturday (April 2).

Steve Orcherton, executive director of the Saanich-based organization, said when Michael Dunahee went missing in Victoria 20 years ago, the booklets “would have saved (his parents) a lot of grief and panic.”

No personal information is collected by volunteers, but once a child is reported missing, kits can help police in their search. That can be a daunting task, considering more than 50,000 cases of missing children were reported in Canada in 2009 – more than 10,000 in B.C. alone.

Of the B.C. cases, 16 were abductions, more than 9,000 were runaways and 37 were parental abductions.

“That’s unbelievable,” said Wanda Walker, an Oak Bay Kiwanis member, clinic volunteer and grandmother of four. “It must be just dreadful.”

Since the program started in Canada in the mid-1980s, more than one million children have been fingerprinted.

Kiwanis members began providing much-needed support at Greater Victoria clinics last year, which were positively received by parents, said Vanna Wells with the Greater Victoria Kiwanis Seniors Club.

“I think it was a confidence they have in knowing that if anything happened, they had the information at their fingertips,” she said.

The clinics happen from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Oak Bay Recreation Centre, Esquimalt Recreation Centre and Cedar Hill Recreation Centre.

For more information, please visit www.childfindbc.com or call 250-382-7311.

emccracken@vicnnews.com