CHIP program at the state fair helps parents find missing kids

CHIP program at the state fair helps parents find missing kids. (NTV News)

The Nebraska State Fair is bringing in big crowds which means parents have to keep an extra eye on their kids. When kids go missing, it’s hard to know what steps to take first.

The Nebraska Freemasons are here to help with that.

“We’re here to do something that we hope never has to be used,” Vaughn Robertson, Board Member of Nebraska CHIP, said.

CHIP, or the Child Identification Program, creates a kit for parents to help identify kids if they get lost or go missing.

“This is so simple- so simple,” Robertson said.

And sometimes something so simple can be so vital. They collect data like photos, digital finger prints, a video with a voice overlay, a DNA swab, a tooth print and even a scent kit.

The scent kit collects the smell of your child, and gives a more accurate detection to scent dogs.

“A pure scent of the child so it’s not confused with anything else like grabbing their pj’s, or clothes they wore, or bedding, or things that other kids could’ve played on-the family or the dog,” Stephen Kennedy, President of Nebraska CHIP, said.

They said, if frozen, the scent patch could last up to twenty years.

“Anything helps when they go missing,” Logan Djernes, who brought his two-year old daughter, Ellie, said.

He and his wife said, with how busy the fair is, they felt the need to get a kit for their 2 year old.

“Even just here, she doesn’t listen when we call her- she’ll just run off and there’s so many people around and you just never know. You can never be too careful,” Christine Djernes said.

The program is organized by the Nebraska freemasons, an organization geared towards community service. The program is free and has been around since 2005. The Freemasons said making this event free is important.

“Well we don’t want it to be a hindrance on somebody being able to get this. If you put a cost on it, there’s always that, ‘oh, we’ll do it another time,’” Kennedy said. "If that other time is at an inopportune period when something’s happened to the child, then we feel like we’ve missed an opportunity for the parents to have something so we want it to be free so that decision is thrown out of the picture,” he said.

The CHIP program has given these kits out to over 41,000 kids since 2005.

The Nebraska Freemasons will be at the 4-H building on Sunday, starting at 9 a.m. Kids must be under 18.

There's State Fair also provides fr identification wristbands to put the childs name and parental information. The Nebraska State Patrol tells NTV that they get up to three reports of lost children a day during the 11-day event.

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