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Masons' child identification program

Dental impression ... These ladies were among the 113 people who received identification kits from the local Masons. It is recommended that the packets be kept in the family’s freezer, in order to keep the swabbed DNA sample in good condition. Nationally, the fastest growing group in the Mason’s CHIP program is teenage girls.

The local Masons hosted a free South Dakota Child Identification Program (CHIP), Tuesday and Wednesday, September 20-21, at the elementary gymnasium.

Over a dozen Masons volunteered to man the computers and other stations as a total of 113 young people went through the line.

The identification process generates individual completed identification kits that are given to the parent or guardian to take home for safekeeping. Nothing was kept by anyone else except for the permission form. Each kit contains the child's fingerprints, a video-imaged interview with a voice print, a digital still photo, dental impressions and a DNA swab.

The entire process took between 10 and 15 minutes per individual. The packet provides information needed for the Amber Alert system.

The South Dakota Child Identification Program (www.sd-chip.org) was developed by the Grand Lodge of South Dakota (www.mygrandlodge.org) through Masonichip International (www.masonichip.org) in conjunction with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (www.missingkids.com). The SDCHIP program has currently identified 11,903 children in South Dakota.

Though the identification packet is free for children of all ages, nationally the fastest growing group taking advantage of it are teenage girls.