Council requesting ‘Draven Alert’ following vulnerable boy’s death

July 21, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Following the death of an 11-year-old boy, whose body was found in the Scugog River last month, Orangeville council is endorsing changes to the province’s Amber Alert System.

Draven Graham, who has autism, was pulled from the river on June 13, less than 24 hours after he went missing, sparking an online petition that has 90,000 signatures, to start the “Draven Alert”.

On July 11 Coun. Lisa Post brought forward the motion requesting the province and OPP to change the Amber Alert system to enact “Draven Alert”, which would be used when vulnerable children go missing. Currently, the Amber Alert system is only triggered when an abduction of a child takes place.

“An alert system, similar to the Amber Alert system, that notifies cell phones in the area, could have had a significant impact in the search [for Draven] and in other searches,” said Coun. Post.

“Autism advocates across the province are calling on the provincial government to create that system. They’re asking for it to be called the Draven Alert in memory of Draven Graham. And the intent of the Draven Alert would be to notify the public very quickly about missing children who are autistic or vulnerable or have special needs.”

Deputy Mayor Andy Macintosh and Mayor Sandy Brown shared concerns about implementation and potential issues that could arise, with health data and police data not being kept under the same record systems.

“How you’re going to be able to ascertain who falls under this [vulnerable] category and who doesn’t? Are the police just going to take a phone call from somebody and that says ‘hey, my kid falls under this category.’ How do they double check this? I mean, there’s going to be some issues,” Mayor Brown said.

“But it was a terrible tragedy that happened [to Draven Graham]. We certainly don’t want another one to happen, and I’m willing to push this on to others to do a deeper dive into this, which I’m sure they will do at the provincial level.”

Coun. Post’s motion to send a request for a “Draven Alert” program to the provincial government and OPP passed 7-0 during council’s regular meeting on July 11.

Council’s next meeting is on August 8.

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