Perry First Governor to Receive FBI Director's Award for Child Safety
Today, Gov. Rick Perry was honored by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA)/FBI National Child I.D. Program for his efforts to ensure the safety of Texas children by supporting the distribution of I.D. kits, which allow parents to easily record and store their child's fingerprints, DNA and physical characteristics in case of an emergency. The governor is the first non-coach to receive the FBI Director's Award for Child Safety, and today also received the FBI Assistant Director's Award for Child Safety as well as certificates of appreciation from Texas' four FBI field offices.
"My role in this process has been to do what a governor can do: talk about the effort and direct funding to it. And the distribution of I.D. kits is a very worthwhile use of our resources," said Gov. Perry. "When we care for those who cannot care for themselves, we make the world a better place. I'm honored to have been included in this initiative and am confident the kits that have been distributed will save lives."
Since 2006, the Governor's Office has directed more than $2.4 million to this program. Last year, $1.8 million in Criminal Justice Division (CJD) grants was awarded to the AFCA/FBI National Child I.D. Program to reach children in grades K-6. These grants, matched by a private donation, supported the fourth largest I.D. kit distribution in U.S. history. This year, the initiative received $676,000 in CJD grants to ensure 370,000 kindergarteners receive kits.
With the help of the Sheriffs' Association of Texas and Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA), more than 2 million Texas children have received I.D. kits. Each kit contains an inkless fingerprinting card, DNA swab and preservation envelope and a wallet card. All information can be completed by a parent or guardian and stored at home. In the event of an emergency, the I.D. kit can be handed over to authorities to help locate a missing child.
All past recipients of the FBI Director's Award for Child Safety have been football coaches, and include West Virginia Head Coach Rich Rodriguez, Alabama Head Coach Mike Shula, Florida State Head Coach Bobby Bowden, and former Alabama Head Coach Gene Stallings. This year's coaches receiving the award will be University of Texas Head Coach Mack Brown, USC Head Coach Pete Carrol, former-Texas A&M Head Coach R.C. Slocum, and former-West Virginia Head Coach Don Nehlen. Gov. Perry was nominated unanimously by the American Football Coaches Association's Board of Directors to receive this award.
Since it was founded in 1997, the National Child I.D. Program has distributed more than 18 million I.D. kits throughout the United States, making it the largest program of its kind and the only child I.D. program to gain the backing of the FBI.