In acting to the best interests of missing children, you can count in Tay and Tiny Townships.
At their recent respective regular meetings of council, items of correspondence from several municipalities, townships and urban centres brought forward support to a proposed alert system similar to AMBER Alerts.
The ‘DRAVEN Alert’ was proposed by Marianne Corman, the step-grandmother of Draven Graham – an 11-year-old Lindsay boy with autism who was found deceased last month after being reported as missing.
AMBER Alert notifications are sent by OPP through the Alert Ready emergency broadcast system to television, radio, and LTE-connected and compatible wireless devices when searching for an abducted child and suspect.
However, no such alert was issued for Graham who had not been abducted.
Corman’s plea for a new alert system – “Direct Response to Autistic/Vulnerable Emergency Notices” or DRAVEN – reached the ears of the town of Brighton, who endorsed a resolution to create a new system for “vulnerable children who have not been abducted but are at high risk of danger, injury or death and alert the public that they are missing.”
Several councils have lent their support including Bonfield Township, Cobourg, Mississauga and Shuniah.
Tiny Deputy Mayor Steffen Walma brought the Brighton endorsement to the attention of the committee of the whole.
“Sometimes the phone goes off – it’s a bit of a buzz and annoyance – but a great program for helping our vulnerable populations that may have been abducted,” said Walma. “However, the criteria for an AMBER Alert does say that you have to be abducted.
“Missing children are still at risk of injury or harm, even if they’re missing versus being abducted; and I think it’s a good initiative to lend the township’s support.”
Tiny council passed a resolution of support immediately following Walma’s words.
In Tay Township, meanwhile, Coun. Paul Raymond raised the topic following several pieces of correspondence on the issue.
“I would hope that we’re in a position to endorse creating something along the lines of a DRAVEN Alert, so that we can protect (those children) if they go missing,” said Raymond.
“I would ask that perhaps council and staff look at jumping on the bandwagon here in trying to show some support on this; specifically not just for the autistic community but for any of the kids that are coming up that are not necessarily abducted but are missing and in peril.”
The matter was directed to committee for further review, with Mayor Ted Walker suggesting that the alert could be of more importance for Tay due to the Cherry Blossom Village residential care project, designed for those with complex intellectual needs.
Information on the Municipality of Brighton DRAVEN Alert proposal can be viewed within the agenda page located on the Tiny Township website.
Correspondences of support from Bonfield Township, Cobourg, Mississauga, and Shuniah can be found in the council agenda on the Township of Tay website.
Tay council meets for regular council meetings every fourth Wednesday of the month. Further information including council’s agenda can be found on the Tay township website.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca