Key provisions from Rep. Chris Smith’s Kevin and Avonte’s Law (HR 4221) were included in the Omnibus Spending Act of 2018. Kevin and Avonte’s Law establishes the Missing Americans Alert Program, which will help local law enforcement and healthcare agencies protect and locate children with Autism and elderly persons with Alzheimer’s who wander. The spending package authorized $10 million in funding over five years for the Missing Americans Alert Program.
“The new provisions and the added funding will support critical wandering prevention programs that have saved lives, and will continue to save lives,” said Rep. Chris Smith, who is the co-founder and co-chair of both the Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Congressional Autism Caucus.
“Wandering is a common—and serious—problem facing these Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers, as an estimated 60 percent of Alzheimer’s patients wander,” Smith said. “Similarly almost half of children with Autism have wandered at some point, according to a 2012 Pediatrics study. Wandering can and has resulted in serious injury or even death.”
Funding for these programs will also help them set up and improve communications and alert systems and utilize non-invasive tracking technology to prevent wandering-related injuries and deaths.
The bill is supported by the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, Autism New Jersey, Autism Speaks, the Autism Society, National Autism Association, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, SafeMinds and National Down Syndrome Society.