PACK: Parent Action Crisis Kit
Every Parent that is responsible for the care and well being of a minor child needs to assemble a Parent Action Crisis Kit for each adolescent in their care. The PACK, as SafePassage refers to it, is an assemblage of pertinent and vital information about each of your children. SafePassage recommends that parents prepare a PACK for each child and select a secure location to store your child’s PACK. Store it where your child will not stumble across it, but make sure you have quick access to the PACK in case of an emergency. A PACK is the tool that you grab when your child has been in an accident, has runaway or has gone missing. If you didn’t begin assembling a PACK when your child was born begin now. It doesn’t matter what kind of crisis that involves your child, if you have a PACK already assembled and updated, you don’t have to risk remembering the wrong intimate details associated with your child. A SafePassage Client shared with us that they had a medical crisis with one of their twins late one night. They explained how they argued in front of the EMTs about which twin was allergic to the medication which was about to be administered and nothing could be confirmed because the doctors office was closed. They said they wished they had known about preparing a PACK as that would have alleviated the anxiety of indecisiveness. They said that a PACK would have kept them in control during the crisis and would have enabled the EMTs to administer appropriate treatment immediately.
In the case of a missing or runaway adolescent each moment of time that is wasted on assembling information results in more of a head start for your adolescent. According to Promise House, a long standing not-for-profit agency in Dallas, Texas, more than 1.5 million teenagers go missing in the United States every year; more girls than boys run away; and of those that runaway ten per cent will not return home. If your teenager goes missing, your PACK will jump start an investigation with local law enforcement or a licensed private investigations agency.
The process to assemble a PACK for each child may take a couple of hours, but in the long run it will be well worth the time spent. SafePassage recommends that parents use a standard size plain manila envelope so that you are able to make a check list on the front of the envelope and supporting documents will be contained inside. This way in a crisis situation anyone can look at the front of the envelope and at a glance know exactly what are the contents in your PACK.
The three most important things that should appear first on the top of each PACK is the name of your child, their cell phone number and the name and cell phone number of the friend they are closest to and spend the most time with. From there SafePassage recommends the following information be contained in each PACK:
Names of parents, siblings and current address;
Copy of birth certificate; Drivers License or Permit; Passport; School ID;
Recent photograph not more than six months old;
Photographs and description of the vehicles they are permitted to drive;
Vehicle tag numbers; VIN numbers;
Copy of vehicle registration, tracking devices or remote locating service associated with the vehicle;
Medical and automotive insurance;
Names and phone numbers of doctors; dentist, orthodontist, chiropractor;
Blood type, height and weight;
Current medications, allergies, diseases or conditions;
Therapist, Educational Consultant and a brief therapeutic history if any;
Cell phones – print a copy of the pages your teenagers monthly cell phone statement;
Names, addresses and cell phone numbers of, close friends, the person your teenager is dating and photographs of them;
Names, addresses and cell phone numbers of friends parents;
Names and addresses of relatives that your child has a close relationship with;
My Space and Facebook account information;
Name and address of their Schools, guidance counselor, coach or teacher and parent volunteers who are affiliated with your child’s activities;
Extra-curricular activities and the locations and times of the activities;
Local hangouts such as coffee shops, shopping malls or teen centers;
Job – if your teenager has a job list the address, phone number and manager;
Credit Card, Bank Card, Check Card account numbers and photocopies of these cards front and back;
Finger prints – some parents have these from school safe kids programs.
If you have adopted children include:
Adoption information, final adoption papers and the name and addresses of biological parents if known.
If you are divorced include:
Divorce custody documents;
Addresses of custodial and non-custodial parents;
Address of child if different;
Pending Custodial Changes;
Siblings and their respective addresses.
Some of our Clients have duplicate PACKs for each of their children because their life situation demands it. Decide what is appropriate for your family, assemble what you need and set aside time to keep the PACKs current.
Remember to update each PACK once a month with copies of cell phone records and any new friends or hangouts. From there, any time your child has a change in their personal appearance such as they get piercings or tattoos, change their hair color or personal appearance make a note of it on the PACK and if you are able to obtain a photo include it in the pack.
At least once a year, even if you don’t think anything has changed with your child pull out the PACK and go through it. A SafePassage Client told us that they had missed some pertinent information on one child and that if they had not set aside a time to review their PACK they may have left it incomplete. Be smart; make a PACK.