As we’ve already reported, children in foster care are at an increased risk as their sensitive health and personal information is circulated widely within the schools and social services networks.
Children’s Social Security numbers are uniquely valuable because they lack a credit history and can be paired with any name and birth date. In effect, a child’s identity is a blank slate that can be used to obtain goods and services over a long time period.
As the CEO of Identity Theft 911, Cullina personally works with the Federal Trade Commission to spread awareness of child identity theft issues.
He also has worked with U.S. Representative Jim Langevin of Rhode Island in passing a federal foster youth identity-theft law. The bill was signed into law on October 11, 2011. It contains provisions that shield foster youth from identity theft and offers support services in the event of an identity theft occurrence.
Cullina also has personal experience as a foster parent and adoptive parent, and he has witnessed first-hand the issues of the system.
“I receive benefits cards for my children which contain their Social Security number. I receive about four per child each year, three more than necessary. If these got into the wrong hands, it could do serious damage to their identity,” he said in a Providence Business Journal article.
The executive director of the Communitas Awards, Ed Dalheim, says Cullina’s “involvement and passion for protecting and helping foster youth is shown through his team’s commitment to foster youth issues and demonstrated through Identity Theft 911’s pledge to corporate social responsibility.”
Communitas Awards recognize exceptional businesses, organizations and individuals for excellence in community service and corporate social responsibility.