Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is providing free "child identification kits" allowing parents to store critical identifying information in the event a child goes missing.
In a release Wednesday, Dart's office said it will distribute the kits at the county's seven courthouses located throughout the county on Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. In the Northwest suburbs, the nearest courthouses are Rolling Meadows at 2121 Euclid Ave. or Skokie at 5600 Old Orchard Road. Other courthouses are in Chicago, Bridgeview, Markham and Maywood.
The kits contain supplies to collect DNA and fingerprint samples as well as space to keep recent photographs. Authorities say the ability to have that information in the early stages of a missing child investigation plays a critical role in expediting a search.
The campaign is part of National Missing Children's Day on Saturday.
Dart recently initiated a "child protection unit" with the mission to locate missing and abducted children in Cook County. Sheriff's officials said the unit has located 155 children since its inception in October 2012.