Staten Island Assemblymember Matthew Titone introduced a bill in the State Assembly that would require insurance companies to offer GPS device tracking coverage for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
The bill comes after autistic teen Avonte Oquendo was laid to rest.
Avonte was last seen at the Center Boulevard School in Long Island City on October 4, when he ran out of the school, located just across from the East River. His body was found on January 16, washed up in College Point.
“The tracking devices are crucial in finding lost children quickly and safely,” said Titone. “Unfortunately, such devices can be expensive and difficult to maintain.”
Titone also added that insurance companies would be responsible for covering the costs of the equipment and monitoring services.
In January, Senator Charles Schumer introduced a bill called “Avonte’s Law” which will create and fund a program to provide voluntary tracking devices and increase support services for families of children with ASD or any other developmental conditions in which bolting is common.
Later that same month, the Department of Justice agreed to take existing funding which already helps track seniors with Alzheimer’s and expand it to children with ASD.
The 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.