New York (January 26, 2014) - U.S Senator Charles Schumer today at a Press Conference in NYC announced new legislation called "Avonte's Law" that will look to start and fund programs to provide voluntary tracking devices for families with children with autism. "Avonte's Law" was named after Avonte Oquendo, a 14-year-old boy with autism from Queens who bolted from his Long Island City school on October 4, 2013 . Last week Avonte’s body was found in the East River in Queens.
Those who attended the press conference with Senator Schumer included Avonte's mother Vanessa Fontaine, grandmother Doris McCoy, their Attorney David Perecman, and Executive Vice President of Strategic Communations at Autism Speaks Michael Rosen. In addition, Michael had his son Nicky with him who's 26 and on the autism spectrum.
"The tragic end to the search for Avonte Oquendo clearly demonstrates that we need to do more to protect children with autism who are at risk of running away," said Schumer. "Thousands of families face the awful reality each and every day that their child with autism may run away. Making voluntary tracking devices available will help put parents at ease, and most importantly, help prevent future tragedies like Avonte's. By expanding the innovative program we currently have in place for at-risk Alzheimer's patients, we will help thousands of families avoid what Avonte's family just experienced."
For more on "Avonte's Law" you can read more at WABC-TV here.
Read the Autism Speaks statement on the Avonte Oquendo tragedy here.