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March 20, 2015

Bill for missing vulnerable persons alert system progresses

A New Jersey state lawmaker's new bill would create an "MVP," or Missing Vulnerable Persons, alert system to notify people of individuals living with mental, intellectual or developmental disabilities who go missing.

State Sen. Fred Madden's bill (S2668) was passed unanimously in the Senate on Monday, reports. 

The bill stems from an incident last summer when a 35-year-old mentally challenged man from Woolwich Township went missing from a group home and was found walking down a township road two days later, Madden said.

Under the proposed legislation, the MVP alert would be activated if a person with a mental, intellectual or development disability or defect is believed to be missing and may be "in danger of death or serious bodily injury."

Alerts would include the individual's appearance, time they went missing and relevant information regarding a vehicle they may be traveling in.

Mental health advocacy groups and statewide business organizations alike have shown support for the bill, which is particularly necessary because individuals with mental disabilities do not meet qualifications for Silver and Amber alert systems, according to Madden. 

Madden said he hopes the bill, which is currently in the Assembly's Human Services Committee, will make its way to the full Assembly soon.

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