New York Sen. Chuck Schumer wants the Justice Department to fund a program for tracking devices for autistic children. The proposal comes a month after an autistic child went missing and has yet to be found.
"I am asking the Department of Justice to fund devices for children identified as high risk runners," New York Sen. Schumer said, according to WABC-TV.
Schumer is joined by parents and area educators in the effort to make GPS tracking devices available to parents with autistic children.
The New York Post reports that Schumer stated, “The sights and sounds of NYC and other busy places can be overstimulating and distracting for children and teens with autism, often leading to wandering as a way to escape.”
The Justice Department already funds devices for Alzheimer's patients, costing about $100. The GPS tracking service ranges from $5 to $50 a month. It would be a voluntary program, overseen by police departments.
"The use of these devices reduces the amount of time to locate a child by 95 percent. That's amazing," Schumer said.
The proposal follows the early October disappearance of 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo, who is diagnosed with autism. He disappeared from his Long Island City school and is still missing.
Shortly after Oquendo’s disappearance, one parent immediately began the quest for a tracking device for her autistic child.
"One of the first things I did was go online and try to find a tracking device I could use for my son. My son is 6 years old and he is diagnosed with autism," Kpana Kpoto said.