Red Cross director takes up cause of child fingerprinting

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 24, 2002

The director of the Suffolk Chapter of the American Red Cross is disturbed by the seemingly commonplace abductions and disappearances of children across the nation.

Faye Byrum, the local Red Cross Chapter director, said she felt compelled to do something to help with this tragic situation.

&uot;Everyday we hear something about another child missing or being murdered,&uot; said Byrum. &uot;I recalled that when my children were little, I took them to be fingerprinted and photographed by deputies of the sheriff’s department when they were doing that. I realized that since they could no longer do it, I would have to find a way to bring that program back to Suffolk.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

Byrum said she wrote an application for grant funds and submitted it to a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. She was granted funds for 900 &uot;Kid Care&uot; identification kits.

&uot;The kits include a little booklet where the children’s fingerprints can be permanently imprinted,&uot; said Byrum. &uot;We can take their photographs and immediately place them inside the booklet and then place the booklet in the plastic sleeve for safekeeping. That way, if something does happen and a child goes missing, we have a record of fingerprints and a photograph to identify them.&uot;

Byrum added, there are extra pages in the photograph section of the Kid Care booklet and they should be used for new photos, as the child grows older.

Fingerprinting takes training and Byrum asked the sheriff’s department for assistance in teaching Red Cross volunteers those skills.

&uot;Deputy Eddie Harville came over to our offices and provided training for us,&uot; said Byrum. &uot;All our volunteers are excited and we are ready to begin what we hope will be a long series of these fingerprint programs.&uot;

The first Kid Care Identification Day is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Vicare on Commercial Lane near the new Obici Hospital. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to noon.

A second Kid Care day is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Paul D. Camp Community College’s

Oliver K. Hobbs Campus off Kenyon Road, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Additional locations will be announced in the News-Herald as they are scheduled.

Byrum added that with only 900 Kid Care kits, she expects them to go quickly. She said only through additional funding from other donors could the program continue.

Any business, church, civic or service organization that would like to help sponsor a Kid Care Identification Day is asked to call Byrum at 539-6645, or visit the office at 109 1/2 Clay Street in downtown Suffolk.