Proposal Comes Month After Avonte Oquendo Disappeared From School

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the federal government to fund a program that would make tracking devices  available for children with autism and other developmental disorders who walk away from their caregivers.

The proposal comes as the search continues for 14-year-old Avonte Oquendo, who walked away from his Long Island City school on Oct. 4.

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Schumer believes the devices could prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.

“While we may think that a GPS can only be used to track down cars and iPhones, it can also be used for other important ends,” Schumer said. “Especially in the hustle and bustle of a city like New York the devices are crucial.”

Schumer said some of the GPS devices can be secured on the wrists, attached to a belt buckle, or slipped into a shoe.

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“A parent interested in such a device could simply go to their local police precinct and apply for one,” Schumer said. “No parent who doesn’t want to participate has to.”

Kpana Kpoto of the Bronx said when she heard about Oquendo‘s disappearance, one of the first things she did was go online to find a tracking device for her autistic 6-year-old son.

“My son has bolted in the street before,” Kpoto said. “It was just by the grace of God that he’s alive today.”

The program would be modeled after one that is already in place for Alzheimer’s patients.

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