Westchester County is offering tracking bracelets for children with autism and other developmental disabilities whose parents are looking for an extra layer of security.

The Project Lifesaver service began in January 2009 and is geared to children and adults with autism who are living with their families and who have a history or are at risk of wandering from their caregivers. The program is being run by the county Department of Community Mental Health and the Department of Public Safety, in partnership with Westchester Jewish Community Services. Families with an autistic child (or another developmental disability) can purchase electronic monitoring bracelets for their child so they can be located quickly and easily by the county police through the tracking device located in the bracelet.

Referring to Project Lifesaver, Alan Trager, executive director of WJCS, said, “ We are delighted to partner with the county in providing an important resource and peace of mind for families of Westchester."

In addition to the electronic monitoring, the Westchester County Department of Public Safety has included autism awareness training for law enforcement recruits in its curriculum at the Police Training Academy. This portion of the training is conducted by a police officer who is also a parent of a young man with autism.

Families interested should call WJCS at (914) 761-0600, ext. 228, prior to registration to determine if they meet the eligibility criteria. The child who will be wearing the bracelet must accompany caregivers to the registration so the child’s photograph can be taken in the event he or she does get lost. Also, the bracelet will be put on by WJCS staff.

You maydownload the application to complete it at home.

The program requires monthly battery changes by WJCS staff and daily checks of the battery by the parents. The total cost for the first year is $300 per child. That includes bracelets and all batteries. After that, the cost is approximately $85 a year.