It's a program that has been around for more than 50 years, but now the Arizona Department of Transportation is trying to educate the public of the safety facet involved in getting an identification card for a child.

"ADOT through the Motor Vehicle Department has always issued an identification card which is similar to a drivers license," said Harold Sanders, spokesman for ADOT. "It's basically for someone to have a government-issued ID for various purposes where they might need to identify themselves. What we're promoting is an identical facet for children. We're seeking to get the public to understand how valuable it is for children to have an ID card and to have one for each child they have."

Sanders says an ID card for children is not only helpful for travel purposes but it's also useful in emergency situations.

"It is without a doubt valuable for situations that we don't want to occur but we have to prepare for," said Sanders. "You don't want to have to look for some type of photo ID or photo should your child become lost. You want to be able to have something right off the bat that law enforcement can use to help get the word out and help locate your child within a short time period."

The state requires an update to the ID every 12 years but Sanders says they suggest getting an updated photo sooner than that for children.

The first card and each subsequent update to the card costs $12. Sanders says it's a small administrative fee to protect your child. The cost may also be worth it to protect your child's identity.

"When an individual obtains a state issued identification card it can help somewhat to protect that child's identity from being used in an illegal way," Sanders said. "You have now established a government file. You have a valid ID with your child's information. If something happens you can at least show that no, this is my child, I don't know who this person is using my child's name."

The state-issued ID card is available through the Motor Vehicle Department. A card can be issued to any child 1 year or older. Once a child gets a state-issued driver's license that becomes their valid identification card.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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