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ARE YOU PLACING YOUR CHILDREN IN DANGER?

More than ever before it has become absolutely crucial for people to pay attention to their surroundings and the people they meet. There are now hundreds of organizations and websites dedicated to the safety and welfare of young children and yet, children are being abducted every single day.

The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics reveals more than one third of America's children are being raised by one biological parent who very often has a live-in boyfriend or girlfriend, or eventual step-parent. Statistically speaking, children raised in these settings have a forty percent greater chance of being abused than children living with both biological parents. Always scrutinize people before allowing them access to your child! If you are considering a live-in housemate of any kind, you may benefit from the information available from WhoisHe.Com or WhoisShe.Com before they move in.

Conscientious and caring parents can benefit from programs that take DNA samplings, and fingerprints of their children to keep on file in case they are ever needed to help find or identify their youngster. All parents are busy parents, yet they need to MAKE the time to plan ahead to safeguard the children who depend on them.

One of the best ways to protect children is to take regular photographs of them as they grow. This information can then be provided quickly if ever it becomes necessary to issue an "Amber alert", or any other search for a missing child.

Though we live in a very busy world we ought to train ourselves and our families to pay attention to details so they can be remembered and reported if needed. Consider the events surrounding the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart who was forcibly taken from her bed in the middle of the night. Her sister, who slept in the same room, was so terrified it took hours before she could wake her parents and tell them. Elizabeth was missing for nine months. Her little sister's traumatic experience of an intruder awakening and abducting her sister delayed her ability to realize that she could identify the kidnapper. When she finally was able to recall the name and description of the person who took Elizabeth, the entire family was horrified to learn he was someone they had innocently brought into the home as a day laborer. Their compassion for a stranger cost them nine months of their beloved daughter's life.

Still, the Smarts were among the very few fortunate families to reunite with a stolen child after such an extended amount of time. Sadly, statistics of children taken by strangers show that being gone for as little as three hours severely diminishes the chance they will be seen alive again. The Smart family strongly supports a nationwide "Amber alert" to help find missing children quickly. If they had required background searches on people who worked in their home, they would have discovered criminal records on not one, but TWO of those they hired! Just asking questions is not enough when you realize that a USA Today article states fully sixty percent of people lie about who they are! The loving Smart family would never have jeopardized their children. Instead they were being kind in an attempt to help strangers who very nearly destroyed the Smart family's happiness.

Sometimes children disappear when taken by some relative or family "friend" who may or may not intend to harm them. The White House issued a grim press release in August of 2002, stating that that each year. "More than 58,000 children are abducted by non-family members" and "Many of these children are returned home quickly, but some are not." There are heartbreaking horror stories of children abducted and murdered, seemingly by random, at the hands of strangers. Yet too many times children are abducted, molested, or killed by a neighbor or someone else known to the child or the family. These are agonizing betrayals since children may so easily be lured by a predator they know and might even like. Consider the case of little Danielle Van Dam whose neighbor, David Westerfield, was convicted of kidnapping and killing this trusting child who knew him from her own, supposedly "safe", neighborhood!

We cannot wrap our children in a bubble of absolute protection and still allow them the freedom to grow and explore life. We can, however, commit our parenting skills to prevention, assuring our children and ourselves that we are doing everything we can to keep them safe. Certainly we can keep an up-to-date file folder on each of our children with all of the personal information that would be necessary to identify them. We can, and must, carefully consider all people we allow to have contact with our children. There have been far too many cases of children molested, abused, kidnapped or killed by a boyfriend of the mother. Perhaps along with child support payments from non-custodial parents, we might start a trend toward using background checks when either custodial parent allows a boyfriend or girlfriend to share a dwelling with their child.

Statistics show the standard of living after divorce often decreases, especially for women who become head of the household. It is not surprising then that a mother who is struggling financially might be tempted to rush into a live-in arrangement with someone to help with the responsibilities. Many times predators look for just these types of situations.

Seldom, however, do these single parents stop to think that they may be putting their child in harm's way under their own roof! Situations like this beg for background checks before handing over the house key, and the safety and well being of an innocent child.

Children depend on the parents who are there to love them and tend to their needs. Background checks through organizations such as WhoisHe.Com and WhoisShe.Com are an affordable way to learn the history of the person you are expecting your child to allow close to them. You are your children's first line of defense. Don't let them down!

About the Author

LINDA J ALEXANDER, ESQ is an attorney and the President of WhoisHe.Com / WhoisShe.Com. WhoisHe.Com and WhoisShe.Com provides comprehensive background, criminal and civil record checks for employment screening, prospective mates, business partners, nanny checks, in-home service providers, Nanny Checks, future step-parents since 1997. She can be reached at 760-806-4377 or at CheckHimOut@WhoisHe.Com or CheckHerOut@WhoisShe.Com



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