This past week, Operation Kidsafe launched their Child Safety Center at the Kerley Allstate Agency in Addison. The program focuses on providing education and safety tips along with a free emergency Kidsafe document—an 8 ½ x 11 paper with the child’s full digital head-to-shoulder photo and their fingerprints. With over 300 kids currently missing or exploited in Texas, it is important to keep your family—especially your little (or big) ones—educated on what to do in any dangerous situation.
Allstate agent Bradley Kerley, owner of the Kerley Agency, holds Operation Kidsafe close to his heart. Being involved in his church, youth soccer leagues and having his own children inspired Kerley to pursue his own Child Safety Center here in Dallas-Fort Worth.
“This means more to me than any money I could ever make,” Kerley says when speaking about what led him to open his own Operation Kidsafe office. He also touched on his own parenting struggles, with his daughter going missing for 10 hours when they were on vacation in Tennessee. Throughout the grand opening, Kerley expressed just how important this is to him, adding, “Of course we don’t want anything bad to happen…but my children will have these for my grandchildren.”
You and your little one—whether that’s a child, grandchild, niece or nephew—can walk into the Kerley Agency and obtain a Kidsafe document. The entire process only takes around three minutes. And don’t worry—all information is stored locally and in-house.
While the Child Safety Center is stationed at the Kerley Allstate Agency, they will be taking their Operation Kidsafe system out to local events. Kerley encourages the community to reach out to him if they have an event they’d like Operation Kidsafe to attend. For bigger events, more than one system can be brought out (with enough notice).
How It Works
The Operation Kidsafe system and procedure were developed with FBI consultants, police and fingerprinting experts. The program uses the latest digital systems to capture your child’s fingerprint as well as a full digital head-to-shoulder photograph. The fingerprint scans and the full head-to-shoulder photo are then printed on hard copy (their Kidsafe document) and handed to the parents (or trusted adult) for safekeeping. There is an area on the document to place a more recent photograph as the child grows. Operation Kidsafe recommends replacing the photo annually.
Why It Works
If you realize your child is lost or, even worse, kidnapped, the first instinct is to call 911. With the Operation Kidsafe document, parents would call 911 and let the operator know they have an Operation Kidsafe document. This allows the parents to hand off vital information to law enforcement efficiently—to find their child as quickly as possible. The Child Safety Center also encourages parents to communicate with their children and discuss a family safety action plan.
Preparing for the Operation Kidsafe Program
The service is free (yes, completely free of charge) to every family that walks through the Child Safety Center’s doors. With a trusted adult, children can have access to their facilities. Also, Operation Kidsafe events are fun for the kids, as much as they are informational.
Concerned About Databasing? Don’t fret.
Databasing was Kerley’s main concern when he first learned of the service. Luckily, Operation Kidsafe puts your child’s privacy and protection at the forefront. The only record of the visit goes home with the family—the 8 ½ x 11 print with the child’s fingerprints and photo. It is the easiest, most private and effective way for the authorities to publish (as they see fit) for distribution and entry into the National Crime Computer. Worried about losing your child’s Kidsafe document? The document only includes the child’s fingerprint and photo. Crucial information is left blank—and can’t even be entered into the Operation Kidsafe program—so it can be filled out in a secure and private area.
Founder, Mark Bott, started the Operation Kidsafe system 18 years ago to help protect children before an emergency strikes. Bott worked with “America’s Most Wanted” host, John Walsh, to kick start the program. Since it began, more than 1 million kids have been safeguarded. John Walsh was awarded the Lifetime Acheivement Award in 2008 for Operation Kids for his efforts.
While the Kerley Agency is Operation Kidsafe’s first Child Safety Center in Dallas-Fort Worth, the company is actively looking for more agencies in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. If you or someone you know is interested, contact the Kerley Agency for more information.
The Kerley Agency // 14675 Midway Road, Suite 101, Addison; 972/490-7288
For more information on Operation Kidsafe, click here.
Image courtesy of iStock.