A new alert system for loved ones with disabilities who are In distress was passed into law this week in Tennessee.
On June 9, 2016, Governor Bill Haslam signed The Care Alert into law after Clarksville’s Margaret Davis, Supported Employment Director at Progressive Directions, contacted Representative Joe Pitts with the idea of an alert system for Tennessee Residents with disabilities.
Representative Pitts became the champion of this new law and worked to bring it into law over the last year. Representative Pitts stated, “The Care Alert Act is one of the more important public safety laws enacted by the Tennessee General Assembly this year. Great thanks to Margaret and J.T. Davis for championing this legislation that provides peace of mind for families across our state.”
Previously, citizens with a disability and over the age of 18, who were missing or endangered had few options for their families to get word out to the public that assistance was needed to bring them home. The Silver Alert did not cover people under the age of 60 with a disability.
Inspired by a story about a gentleman with a disability who went missing for 8 years after taking the wrong bus to a family member’s home in another state, Davis knew she had to take action.
Davis’ son, J.T. has Autism and she felt the time was right to introduce her proposal to state policy makers. The Care Alert was received on Capitol Hill with positive and consistent approval as it worked its way through the process.
Davis named the Care Alert after the charity organization, Bikers Who Care, who have always advanced the care of people with disabilities through their ongoing fundraising for charities that support people with disabilities.
Davis spoke on what the law being passed means to her, “Knowing that there is something out there that can protect people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities means the world to me,” she said. “I am inspired by the people we support daily and by my son who is 24 (and no longer covered by the Amber Alert). I wanted to do something that could further protect these people I care so much about.”
Davis works for Progressive Directions, Inc. (PDI.) PDI provides services and support to individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities and their families. The agency is a private not-for-profit organization chartered in 1976 that serves individuals in Montgomery, Stewart and surrounding Counties. PDI is governed by a volunteer board of directors and is funded by the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Tennessee Early Intervention System, United Way, local governments, corporate and private contributions.