Over the weekend, a teen with autism wandered and was found within 24 hours just miles from my house. A friend on Facebook reported her teen son wandered in Chicago and we spent a harrowing night praying for him, he was found alive and safe. Also, this weekend, a youngster in Lima, Ohio was not so fortunate. He was drawn to "water, trains and parks...." And yet, the Justice Department continues to drop the ball. See below.
The body of an autistic boy who was reported missing in Lima early Sunday morning was recovered from a body of water Sunday afternoon, according to the Allen County Sheriff’s Office. 8-year-old Matthew Converse had last been seen around 12 a.m. Sunday, according to the Lima Police Department. Police had informed the public that Matthew had autism and was drawn to water, trains and parks. Matthew was found in a body of water not far from his home around 3:34 p.m., deputies said.
From Disability Scoop: The U.S. Department of Justice is on the hot seat amid attempts to allocate funding intended to address the needs of kids with autism and other developmental disabilities who wander.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is pressuring the agency to follow through on its obligations under Kevin and Avonte’s Law.
The law, which was signed last year, called for $2 million annually through 2022 for grants to local law enforcement and nonprofit agencies. The money can be used to provide electronic tracking devices to families of those at risk of wandering or for education, training, notification systems and other efforts to prevent or better respond to elopement.
However, Schumer’s office said that rather than make funding available to local agencies as called for in Kevin and Avonte’s Law, the Justice Department folded the wandering program into a larger grant for a national center to improve police response to people with mental health conditions as well as intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Now, the grant solicitation is being amended and reissued, Schumer said.
“I have serious concerns that deviating from the Kevin and Avonte’s mandate, will divert key resources from in need families and communities,” Schumer wrote in a letter this month to Katharine Sullivan, principal deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department’s Office of Justice Programs. Read more here.