Kevin and Avonte’s Law: What You Should Know
According to a recent article by Autism Speaks, "Federal Wandering Legislation Passes Committee Vote, Gains Momentum," one-third of children with autism have wandered within the past year.
A new bill, Kevin and Avonte’s Law, has the potential to assist caregivers and families who have loved ones with Alzheimer’s or Autism with a tendency to wander. It was recently passed by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 15 to 5 and will now go before the Senate.
Kevin and Avonte’s Law is named in honor of two boys with autism who perished after wandering. Nine-year-old Kevin Curtis Wills jumped into Iowa’s Raccoon River near a park and drowned in 2008. Fourteen year-old Avonte Oquendo left his school and drowned in New York City’s East River in 2014.
The bill allows Justice Department grants to be used by law enforcement agencies and nonprofits for education and training programs to prevent wandering. The bill also provides access to resources to help individuals who become separated from their caregivers. The grants will facilitate training and emergency protocols for school personnel, supply first responders with additional information and resources, and make local tracking technology programs available for individuals who may wander from safety.