Health maintenance and treatment are just one aspect of overall healthcare. Manteno Illinois healthcare also includes programs for helping police to locate children who are missing from their families. The police of Manteno, assisted by Manteno Parent-Teacher’s Association members, recently began a campaign to assist in locating missing children. According to the state police of Illinois, more than two thousand children were reported as missing last year. Across the nation there were almost eight hundred thousand children reported as missing last year. Of this number, about 25% were abducted by someone in their own family; and about 8% were abducted by someone outside the family. The Manteno police department became the first law enforcement agency in the area to fingerprint children as a means of identification. Following the abduction and murders of two ten-year old children in 1983 from Bolingbrook and Naperville, the Manteno police in April 1983 fingerprinted 240 Manteno children.
Last year all students in the School District of Manteno were fingerprinted to establish child identity records. This year DNA samples from all new primary and preschool students in the School District of Manteno were taken as the first step in the missing children location program. The Manteno Police believe that DNA tests are the wave of the future because they provide the most reliable identification possible.
DNA testing is simply a matter of taking swabs of saliva from the child’s mouth; this makes painful blood samples unnecessary. Each child’s parents receive a sealed envelope from Manteno healthcare workers which contains the swab with the DNA sample for their child. These swabs should be stored by the parents in a dark, dry, cool place. The director of safety of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Nancy McBride, explained that DNA testing is considered to be the gold standard of available tools to identify children who are missing. She said that it is terrific that the Manteno Police Department is providing this service and giving the children’s parents the DNA samples for safekeeping. This way the privacy of the children and families is maintained. The DNA testing will become more and more common since it is such a useful and foolproof form of identification. For example, according to a south Chicago Illinois healthcare spokesperson, young men who are having babies with women to whom they are not married are advised to obtain DNA tests before acknowledging paternity of the children, because the Illinois Department of Public Aid will order the men to pay child support even if later DNA tests should show that the child is not theirs.