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Child I.D. program an opportunity for Indiana Freemasons to meet the parents

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Mooresville - Decatur Times - Indiana

Masons register 49 children in CHIP program during hunt

Wednesday April 11, 2007

A parent's worst nightmare is the disappearance of a child. To give families a measure of protection against this ever increasing problem, the Grand Lodge of Indiana and Indiana DeMolay have introduced the Child Identification Program to the state of Indiana. Based on a very successful program started by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, the Indiana Freemasons Child Identification Program (CHIP) addresses the alarming fact that over 1,000,000 children are reported missing in the United States each year. The abduction of children is both under-reported and rapidly increasing in our society. While most are found, many are not.

The Indiana Freemasons' CHIP is the most comprehensive child identification program currently available to our communities, according to the Freemasons. CHIP helps concerned parents to promote the safety of their children by providing a fast, simple packet of information to help authorities identify and recover lost, missing or exploited kids.

The program consists of a brief interview with the child that is recorded on a video cassette to show his or her mannerisms and speech patterns. The child's fingerprints are taken, and a DNA sample is made by swabbing the inside of the child's mouth. All identifying materials are given to the parent or guardian once the child has been processed. No materials or private information is retained by the Freemasons or any law enforcement agency. The program is free and no appointment is necessary.

Information from: local program

The Mooresville Masonic Lodge registered 49 children in the CHIP program on Saturday during the Easter Egg hunt at Pioneer Park.

While the number was down from last year when the lodge registered 97, Freemason, Scott Freeman is just happy they are able to provide the service for parents.

"The best part of our program is the video," Freeman said. "You get a chance to see the kids' facial expressions."

Freeman said the video makes identifying children easier for police officers.

Freeman said they do hope to expand it to eventually include Old Settlers.

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