Volunteers build smartphone app to find missing children

A group of Minnesota software developers are volunteering their time to help build a smartphone app where parents can store their child's ID kit to have on hand if they ever go missing.

- Volunteers in Minnesota have been working long hours to building a smartphone app that aims to be a 21st century solution to an age old problem – finding missing children.

Once the app is complete, parents and police will be able to easily access critical information should their child or loved one go mission. This otherwise pricey process is made possible thanks volunteers that are more than happy to bring one woman's vision to life.

About 20 volunteers are plugging away inside the St. Louis Park offices of Magenic Technologies, Inc. at what's called a “humanitarian toolbox code-a-thon.” The software developers are hard at work creating an app they hope will help save lives by providing a place for parents to store child ID kits.

The idea came from executive director of Missing Children Minnesota Teresa Ihotka.

“When your child is missing all you're thinking about is ‘Where's my child, where's my child, where's my child?’” Ihotka said. “We want the parents to have when they need when [police] say ‘who are your child’s friends? Who knows where he might go?’ Can you recall your child's friends while you’re panicking?”

Rocky Ihotka, Magenic's chief technology officer, tells Fox 9 the app will not only be a convenient place to maintain critical information about your kids, it will also make guidance only a tap away – making the minutes after a child goes missing count mainly towards reuniting them with family.

“Height, weight, medical information, dental information, pictures, parental custody documents anything you might need in the case your child does go missing,” Rocky said. “I hope that a lot more parents will have their information when they need it. Even though we hope they never do.”

The goal is to have a beta application or a draft of the app done by the end of the weekend. The draft will be tested in a limited setting. After gathering feedback on the draft developers will finish building the app at code-a-thons in the future.

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