Free child ID services to be offered in Marlborough
By Lisa Barry, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – A missing child is a parent’s worst nightmare. But it does sometimes happen. That is why a local dental practice has decided to offer a free event that will help parents if the worst does ever happen.
On Saturday, March 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Dental Associates of Marlborough will launch its first annual free Child Identification Program with the support of the Marlborough Police Department and the Marlborough Education Association. Parents and guardians of children up to grade six are encouraged to bring their children Dental Associates office located at 222 Bolton St., Marlborough, to participate. Each child will be provided with a bite registration that will also contain a DNA sample, video and voice recording, and a copy of fingerprints.
“I hope we can get as many children in here as possible, and my best hope is that they never ever have to use any of the information that we give them,” Sanjiv Nehra, DMD, said.
Nehra first participated in a similar program nearly 10 years ago in Worcester. After researching child identification services in the Marlborough area and coming up empty-handed, Nehra decided to take on the endeavor himself.
Reaching out to the Marlborough Education Association and the Marlborough Police Department allowed Nehra to receive support in the form of advertising and volunteers. The bulk of the cost will be covered by Nehra and the Dental Associates of Marlborough.
“We’re doing this to help children. If there was ever a time when a child was lost, these things would be able to help their parents and the police find the child,” Rebecca Hazard, a dental assistant with the practice, said. “It’s one of those things that is not such a happy thing to think about in reality, but if anything were to ever happen, parents would have the information.”
No appointments are necessary. Parents or guardians will be asked to sign a consent form upon arrival. After the package is assembled, parents will be armed with an assortment of identification abilities including a DNA sample that will stay preserved for up to 10 years in a freezer.
Nehra said the DVD will be an important component of the entire package. Not only will it provide a reference for the child’s voice, but the video will also show information including height, weight and quirky personality traits. Each child will answer a series of 10 questions for the recording.
Nehra said he hopes to see the event grow in popularity each year as he and participating staff members continue to learn and adapt the program to maximize benefits for the community. Though this is their first attempt at this particular service, the office has been offering a successful, annual free dental clinic to children under the age of 18 for years. This year, the dental clinic will occur on a date in May yet to be determined.
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