Introduction of the Avonte’s Law Act of 2015by Representative Alcee L. Hastings
Posted on 2015-12-15
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Mr. HASTINGS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce a bill, the
Avonte's Law Act of 2015, which was inspired by the tragic
circumstances surrounding the death of Avonte Oquendo of Queens, New
York. Avonte was an autistic child who wandered away from his school.
His lifeless body was not found for more than a month. ``Wandering'' is
very common in children with autism and other disabilities, and
sometimes children who wander are non-verbal or cannot communicate well
with others, leading to dangerous interactions with strangers or even
This bill authorizes a new grant program within the United States Department of Justice to provide local law enforcement agencies with the resources to procure response tools and increase education and training for first responders, schools, and families with the goal of preventing situations like Avonte's from happening again.
The bill also requires the Attorney General to establish standards and best practices for the administration of any type of voluntary ``tracking'' system used by law enforcement agencies that are awarded these funds. Tracking devices are one of the many ways we can help prevent another tragic situation like Avonte's.
Mr. Speaker, by taking a holistic approach to this issue, we can help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) live safe and happy lives all around the country.