DOJ to fund voluntary tracking devices for children with autism


The Department of Justice agreed Wednesday morning to take existing funding which already helps track seniors with Alzheimer’s and expand it to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) just a day after a new video of Avonte Oquendo leaving school was released.

The existing DOJ funding will become available to police departments or other local law enforcement groups that would be able to provide tracking devices to parents, schools and legal guardians interested in the program.  

“Voluntary tracking devices will help our teachers and parents in the event that the child runs away and, God forbid, goes missing,” said Senator Charles Schumer. “DOJ already funds these devices for individuals with Alzheimer’s and they have done the right thing in deciding to do the same for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

The tracking devices could be worn as non-tampering wristwatches, anklets or be clipped onto belt loops or shoelaces. The devices could also be woven into specially designed clothing.

The agreement, made by Attorney General Eric Holder, comes just days after Schumer introduced a new legislation called “Avonte’s Law.”  The new bill looks to create and fund a new grant program within the DOJ that would help provide the funding for voluntary tracking devices and increase support services for families and children with ASD or any other developmental conditions in which bolting is common.

Autistic teen Avonte Oquendo was last seen leaving his Long Island City school on October 4 and his remains were found washed up early this month in College Point.

New surveillance video released to the media on Tuesday shows Avonte bolting out of the doors of his school minutes after an adult is seen leaving the door opened.



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