Kevin and Avonte’s Law Will Help Safeguard Children with Autism from the Dangers of Wandering
A post by AngelSense, a GPS & voice monitoring solution designed for children with special needs.
Learn more about how AngelSense’s GPS tracking device can help improve your child’s safety and well-being.
UPDATED – December 14, 2016
Help us Get Kevin and Avonte’s Law Back on Track
It was a long process, but after being approved in the Senate back in July, as well as in the House of Representatives just last week, it seemed like Kevin and Avonte’s Law (H.R. 4919), was in its final stretch.
The bill aims to protect children with special needs from the dangers of wandering by allocating funds to train first responders and to provide parents with tracking devices, like the AngelSense GPS Tracker For Kids.
Kevin and Avonte’s Law would have been a major milestone for the special needs community, As Doron Somer, AngelSense CEO said: “The realization of Kevin and Avonte’s Law would help prevent wandering tragedies. With life-saving technology, like AngelSense, in the hands of those who need it most, families could finally gain the peace of mind they so desperately need.
Why didn’t the bill pass?
The bill was recently met with protest by conservative groups citing privacy concerns. To address these concerns, new language was introduced by House of Representatives’ committee. It made it clear that the program would be completely voluntary and that the GPS tracking devices in question are non-invasive.
Due to these last-minute changes, the bill had to go back to the Senate for reconsideration with only one day left to pass it. However, this time, controversy divided special needs advocates, with some arguing that the changes to the bill weren’t in the community’s favor. In addition to addressing privacy issues, the new version of the bill allows the use of tracking devices for purposes other than locating people that have wandered, such as tracking people to prevent them from harming others. Also, it became clear that funds allocated under this law would deplete funding for existing community programs. The added controversy regarding these two issues finally derailed the bill, and the Senate did not vote on it before end of the 2016 session.
What can we do?
This recent development is met with deep disappointment among many of us in the special needs community. The law would have gone a long way towards raising awareness of the wandering problem and could save the lives of hundreds of children across the U.S. As the bill’s sponsor, Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a comment to Disability Scoop: “These families need access to a permanent program with dedicated federal funding to provide voluntary tracking devices for children with autism, as well as training and education for parents and communities. I promise to continue being a voice for children with autism spectrum disorder and to continue fighting for this bill and get it across the finish line.”
It’s already been almost three years since the Avonte tragedy, and with more wandering tragedies on the news all the time, we need to act now!
We must come together to ensure that Kevin and Avonte’s law is put back on track. Share this article and keep posted for our updates.
You can monitor the progress of Kevin and Avonte’s Law of 2016 (H.R. 4919) here.
Original Post – March 14, 2016
The AngelSense community is proud to support the newly introduced Kevin and Avonte’s Law, also known as S.2614. The bill aims to help families locate loved ones with conditions like autism which cause them to wander. Proposed by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, this new legislation builds on the Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program, and includes support for people with autism.
With research indicating that each year more than one-quarter million school-age children with autism wander from adult supervision, such a law goes a long way to prevent wandering tragedies. In fact, this law was created to honor two boys with autism, Kevin Curtis Wills and Avonte Oquendo, who passed away after wandering. Kevin Curtis was a nine year old who drowned after jumping into Iowa’s Raccoon River in 2008. Avonte Oquendo was a 14 year old who also drowned after wandering from his school in Queens in 2014.
These tragedies are a wakeup call and a reminder why legislation like the Kevin and Avonte’s Law is essential for safeguarding our children.
What this New Law Means for You
Once signed into law, this new legislation will ensure that schools, nonprofits and other agencies have the necessary funding and resources to not only prevent but also quickly locate missing children with autism. Under this law, $2 million will be allocated to various institutions to help prevent children with special needs from wandering. This includes making resources available to children who wander as well as funding technology GPS tracking programs, like AngelSense, to help track and locate children quickly.
In many ways this law is an extension of Avonte’s Law 2015 which focused on reducing the risk associated with wandering while also educating and adequately equipping schools and other law enforcement agencies to prevent wandering. Together these laws will see $12 million being allocated to ensure schools and other institutions have access to the necessary training and resources to care for these special children. It will also make it easier for families and caregivers to get funding for GPS tracking devices like AngelSense.
You can monitor the progress of the Kevin and Avonte’s Law of 2016 (S. 2614) bill here.
AngelSense is committed to creating a safer world for special needs children in the hope that we can prevent a repeat of these tragedies. We designed the AngelSense GPS tracking solution to give parents the peace of mind that their little ones are safe at all times. You deserve peace of mind too. Try AngelSense Today.
AngelSense is committed to creating a safer world for those with special needs and providing peace of mind to their families.Learn More »
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[…] week, the U.S. House of Representatives approved Kevin and Avonte’s Law (H.R. 4919) which aims to protect children with special needs from the dangers of wandering. While […]
[…] past December, the special needs community eagerly anticipated the signing into law of the Kevin and Avonte bill. A long time in the making, the bill had been approved by both the Senate and the House only to fall […]