The legislation, that would require respective authorities to provide resources and tracking devices to kids with Autism, is one step closer to becoming a reality and could very soon be a federal law.
If successful, this would be a big step towards providing children with ASD the necessary tools to overcome their developmental disabilities.
The tracking device would also benefit parents as it is designed to address things such as risk of wandering.
The representatives in the U.S. House voted a 346 – 66 on Thursday to pass the measures, commonly being known as Kevin and Avonte’s Law.
The bill is expected to be of great help in the expansion of the current program that presently addresses people with Alzheimer’s disease and are prone to bolting.
The device is usually used to help the aged with Alzheimer’s are now proposed to be used among children with developmental disabilities.
Approval came one week after the legislation was nearly derailed. There were privacy concerns that led to the Judiciary committee to postpone the earlier planned markup. Things took place at a faster pace as the current Congress nears to its term end.
Due to the many concerns raised, the bill was re-written with clauses of languages that are “non-invasive and non-permanent.”
The available statistical data shows that almost half of the kids with autism spectrum have wandered away from their homes at least once in the last two years.
Since 2011, this has also resulted in more than 100 deaths arising from incidents such as being involved in an accident or drowning, involving children with autism or other related syndromes.
The legislation would also provide the department of Justice with $2 million annually to issue the grants that would be required by the law enforcement agencies across the country.
To get these wearable tracking devices, families have to request the law enforcement agencies. Though individuals would not be actively monitored, it would be helpful to track a missing child.
The tracking device cannot to used against individual’s active objection.
“This will save lives,” the bill’s chief sponsor, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said on the House floor.
“Wandering is a serious problem. We want to get our loved ones, find our loved ones who have developmental disabilities, or have Alzheimer’s and make sure that they get back to a safe and secure environment as quickly as possible.”
Though the bill has been cleared at the decks, the process is yet to be complete.
Although the U.S senate has approved this version of the bill, by unanimous consent in the month of July, the measures now head back to the Chambers for further reconsideration and address its other concerns in the House.