New Jersey Just Made a Potentially Life-Saving Move for People With Disabilities
On Monday, New Jersey passed a law to create an alert system for missing persons with mental, intellectual or developmental disabilities.
The new law (A-4270), which gained unanimous approval from both houses of the state’s Legislature, requires the attorney general to establish the “MVP (missing vulnerable person) Emergency Alert System.” Similar to the state’s Amber Alert system, the MVP alert system will provide practices and protocols for the rapid dissemination of information regarding a person who is believed to be a “missing vulnerable person,” according to a press release.
An MVP is defined as a person who is believed to have a mental, intellectual or developmental disability and goes missing under circumstances that indicate the person may be in danger.
The program will be a cooperative effort between state and local law enforcement agencies and the media. These alerts will include a description of the missing vulnerable person, instructions as to whether the missing person should be approached and, if appropriate, instructions on how to approach him or her.
“This law reflects our collective duty to protect some of the most vulnerable New Jersey residents,” assembly democrat Pamela Lampitt said in a press release. “We must do all we can to ensure missing individuals can return home safe and sound, especially when we have all the necessary resources already in place.”
The new law could help protect New Jersey’s large population of people on the autism spectrum, as the state has the highest prevalence of people with autism in the nation, according to Autism New Jersey. One in 68 children nationally has an autism spectrum disorder, but in New Jersey that rate 1 in 45 children, and 1 in 28 boys.
For more information on the new law, go here.