The Masonic CHIP Program is the most comprehensive service of its kind anywhere. CHIP is provided free of charge to the public, though most families make a donation to help continue the program for other families. All of the identifying items generated during CHIP are given to the child’s family.
The Child Identification Program (CHIP) addresses the alarming fact that over 1,000,000 children are reported missing in the United States each year. While most are found, many are not, and the abduction of children is both under-reported and rapidly increasing in our society. CHIP provides parents and guardians the means to quickly get vital information to emergency responders. The digital video and digital still photo on the mini CD is compatible with the Pennsylvania Amber Alert System.
Who Can Participate?
The CHIP program is for ANY child in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania will conduct the program in communities when scheduled by the local Lodges.
What Does It Cost?
The CHIP program is provided, FREE of charge.
Who Pays For This?
We are currently able to supply the CHIP identification materials for under $2.00 per kit. Your generous tax deductible contributions to the PA Masonic YouthFoundation and the CHIP program will help our volunteers reach more children across Pennsylvania.
What Is Given To The Parents?
All materials gathered in the CHIP Program are given to the parents. Only the permission slip is kept by the program providers. NO identification information is kept, copied, or given to any governmental authority, unless the parent or guardian chooses to do so in an emergency. The key components of the program include the following:
- CD Video and digital still photograph: A digital video is recorded in which children are asked a series of questions while standing in front of a height chart backdrop. The CHIP interview captures the appearance, speech, mannerisms, and other important personal characteristics of a child. It can be quickly distributed via the media to reach a huge audience and assist in the quick recovery of a missing child. Additionally, a still photograph is taken for fast and easy distribution by e-mail in case of emergency. The video and photograph are recorded onto a 3″ mini CD and given only to the parent or guardian. It is the cornerstone of the CHIP program.
- Fingerprints: Children’s fingerprints are taken in the traditional manner, using inkless print pads, to provide clear and readable prints. Fingerprint cards are given to the parent or guardian.
- DNA: A DNA kit is provided to the parent or guardian to be completed at home as soon as possible. The DNA kit includes plastic “zipper” bags for
- hair samples
- nail clippings
- oral swab for saliva sample.
Sponsoring A CHIP Event
Anyone may initiate a CHIP event by contacting the local District Deputy Grand Master. All coordination of events is through the Masons of Pennsylvania, and all events are sponsored by the Grand Lodge or by a local community Lodge. If you or your organization would like more information regarding CHIP, please contact the District Deputy Grand Master of your Masonic District, or the Pennsylvania Masonic Youth Foundation.
Program Planning And Logistics
In order to provide the program materials and cameras to the scheduled sites, as needed, it is essential the all requests for CHIP Program dates be submitted through the local District Deputy Grand Master.
The CHIP Team will coordinate the gathering of people materials, supplies, and cameras to be sent to each CHIP event, and to maximize the number of events that can be supported. They will also arrange for training of key local volunteers, press releases, internet promotion, and the creation of customized posters and flyers, and may also assist in locating volunteers to work with multiple-language populations.
CHIP programs require at least one quiet indoor location where the video can be recorded. The rest of the process can be conducted in a public space. Parents are with their children during the entire I.D. process.
Request A CHIP Program
After you have read all the information above, you may wish to request a CHIP Program for your school or organization. All Masonic organizations should contact their local District Deputy Grand Master to make arrangements. If you are not a member of the Masonic Fraternity, you can contact the PA Masonic Youth Foundation for details. Please submit no less than a minimum of 8-10 weeks prior to your planned event to allow us time to arrange for volunteers, cameras, and supplies.