Weed And Seed Fingerprints PS 105 Students
The worst nightmare for a parent is to turn around and find that their child is missing. This is a fear that every parent carries with them.
The New York City Police Department in association with its Weed and Seed program and the New York City Housing Authority offered free fingerprinting and photos for children 18 years and younger as part of its America’s Youth Passport Program at P.S. 105 on December 9.
"The program basically lets the parents know how to keep their children safe," said Officer Al Stevens, second in command of the cadets for Housing Development. "God forbid if the children are kidnapped, the parents have a piece of material which will have a picture of their child, [the child’s] fingerprint and their vitals."
There are three simple steps to completing the ID process for a child.
First, the child’s name, age and address are obtained. Next, the child is fingerprinted. Very young children will have a print of their foot taken. Finally, a photo is taken. All the information is put into a book that resembles a passport and returned to the parent or guardian.
It is up to the parent (or guardian) to enter such vital statistics as the child’s height, weight, and medical history. As the child gets older, there is space to update photos, medical information and other important facts. It is also advised to put a piece of the child’s hair, that can be used as a DNA sample, in the book.
In addition to keeping important facts about a child in the book, the passport contains tips on things such as child safety and emotional health. It also gives parents and guardians advice on, among other things, what to take into consideration when choosing child care.
The America’s Youth Passport Program has been in existence for four years and has held similar fingerprinting and photo sessions at housing developments all over the city. The last time a session was held in Rockaway was in August during Rockaway’s Multicultural Family Festival Day.
"[It was such a success] that we wanted to do it again," said Officer Mary Craine Bachner, the Coordinator for the Weed and Seed program. "[Especially] at this time of year."
During the recent two-hour session a total of 66 children, ranging in ages from 10 weeks old to teenagers, were issued an American Youth Passport. Housing Authority cadets helped participants through the fingerprinting and photo process.
Ten-week-old Malik Collins’ mother may have summed up best why parents were bringing their children to the session.
"Just in case something goes wrong I have information," said Latilya Collins. "Some people don’t have information on their kids."