The Idaho Falls Police Department is excited to launch Project Home Safe, an effort intended to help children and people with disabilities in the event they are lost or missing. The program is intended for children and dependent adults who may have a tendency to wander due to autism, dementia or another diagnosed disability, and provides the police department with information that can help to locate the person, interact with them, and reunite them with their family.
In the event that a child/person with a disability is reported missing, Idaho Falls Police Officers respond and immediately begin gathering information from the parent or guardian that is shared with all personnel searching for the individual. Participating in the Project Home Safe program makes that information immediately available to responders, which may help to reunite the individual with their family more quickly.
Parents or legal guardians of children or dependent adults with a relevant medical/behavioral health diagnosis, especially those who are prone to wander, are invited to participate in the program by submitting their information online through the Project Home Safe form on the Idaho Falls Police website. The form asks for a wide variety of information that may be helpful to first responders searching for and interacting with a lost child with autism, adult with dementia, or a person with another medical/behavioral diagnosis. The information may also be helpful in instances where the Idaho Falls Police Department has found an individual who appears to have a medical/behavioral disability and is attempting to find their home.
Through the Project Home Safe submission form, parents/guardians are asked to provide a recent photo of the child/dependent adult and basic information such as their name, birthdate, home address, and phone numbers for parents/guardians. They are also asked to provide information about any previous wandering incidents, where the child/dependent adult may have been found previously, their diagnosis, if they communicate verbally or are non-verbal, if they have any triggers, calming strategies that work for them, and many other questions that can provide information helpful to police officers in these instances.
Those filling out the form are encouraged to answer questions as completely as possible to the extent that they are comfortable. The information is only available to first responders. Participants will receive an annual invitation to update their submission, including to submit an updated photo.
Project Home Safe is similar to many programs offered by police departments and first responder agencies around the country. There is no cost to participate in the program, which is available now.