Following the discovery of autistic teenager Avonte Oquendo’s remains in Queens, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer proposed new legislation called “Avonte’s Law,” which would expand an existing Dept. of Justice program that grants money to provide tracking systems for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The expansion would provide additional funds to provide optional tracking devices for children with autism.
Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) wants to take this idea a step further, and is drafting a bill that goes beyond Avonte’s Law to include parents who have children with any disability.
“There are 183,000, or 17 percent, of students with disabilities in New York public schools, and there is no reason that the option for a tracking device should not be available to parents with children whose disabilities do not fall under the autism spectrum,” Vallone said. “I want to create this program so that hopefully no parent has to deal with this type of tragedy ever again.”
Vallone’s bill would require the Mayor to designate an agency to create, fund, and maintain a Disability Tracking Assistance Program (DTAP) for minors with special needs. Parents and Legal Guardians of special needs children would decide to use such a monitor, and the exact system of employing the devices would be at the discretion of the city agency.