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FBI Child ID App Helps Find Missing Children

Updated: Friday, June 6 2014, 05:52 PM CDT

NATIONWIDE -- What would you do if your child went missing?

It's every parent's worst nightmare. But a free tool from the FBI is helping reunite missing children and their families.

The FBI's Child ID App allows parents to quickly e-mail important information about their children, like height and weight, on the spot.

The first 48 hours are the most critical to safely recovering missing children, and officials say the app helps save time when every minute matters.

"You just turn your back and they're gone. It's so simple for them to just walk off and get lost in a crowd easily," said Springfield mother of two, Jessica Rivers.

Rivers knows all too well the feeling of panic and helplessness when her seven year old son Jayden went missing at school.

"A lot of anxiety because they found him in the back of the school instead of inside the school and a stranger brought him in so it was really kind of nerve wracking," Rivers said.

To give mothers like Rivers some peace of mind, the FBI created a Child ID App for smart phones.

"In the unlikely event that your child goes missing, this is the first lines of offense we have with law enforcement to be able to reconnect the families with their children," said Brad Ware of FBI Springfield.

Parents are able to use the app to create a profile for each of their children that includes a photo, name, and a list of physical characteristics.

"By just dialing 911 directly from the app, that will take you right to law enforcement so that would be distributed, that information that's on your phone, could be downloaded to law enforcement immediately," said Ware.

Your child's information can be updated from your smart phone at any time. It's a feature of the app that mothers we spoke with say, they appreciate.

"I love the fact that you can update it whenever you want to if ever there's a change in your kid's looks," said Springfield mother, Emily Hershberger.

When it comes to finding missing children, every second counts.

"If you did have the Child ID Kit at home, that means you have to return back to your residence, you would have to remember when you put it at and then you have to get that to law enforcement. That time is valuable to us," Ware said.

Putting the information in the palm of your hand helps bring children home as quickly as possible.

"It's much better than the picture that you might have stashed away," said Deserae Romero, Springfield mother.

FBI officials say the app is not a replacement for a physical child ID kit that includes a fingerprint and DNA sample.

Those still need to be updated every three years.

The FBI is not collecting or storing any photos or information that you enter in the app.

FBI Child ID App Helps Find Missing Children

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