When people with special needs wander off

By Lucette Moramarco 2:14 pm October 4, 2012

There is a program to help locate people with developmental disabilities and/or medical conditions that make them more likely to wander off and get lost. Because these individuals are often unable to communicate who they are, what they need or where they live when they do lose their way, they can be more easily found and identified if they are registered in the county’s Take Me Home system, a regional registry for residents with special needs.

Enrollment is free and is done through an expert/stakeholder organization that is most likely already assisting the individual and caregiver. (See below for names and phone numbers.) The caregiver fills out the form with pertinent information and submits it along with a digital photo. If a caregiver is not sure which organization to contact, the State Council on Developmental Disabilities or County of San Diego Aging and Independence Services can give a referral.

The Sheriff hosted database is accessible to all police agencies and provides important information, besides the photograph, when an at-risk person goes missing or is found away from home. The program has been available in the Fallbrook area for three years and has 15 local residents registered in it so far.

Regarding the program, Sheriff’s Dept. crime prevention specialist John McLelland encouraged participation in the program, “Help the Sheriff’s Department find your missing loved ones more easily.”

For more information about the Take Me Home program, contact San Diego County Sheriff’s Department’s Henry Tirado at (760) 966-3588 or Henry.tirado@sdsheriff.org or visit www.sdsheriff.net.

Stakeholder organizations

The ARC of San Diego

(619) 685-1175

Aging & Independence Service

Health and Human Services Agency

San Diego County

(800) 510-2020

Alzheimer’s Association

San Diego/Imperial Chapter

(858) 492-4400

Autism Society

San Diego County Chapter

(858) 715-0678

Epilepsy Foundation

San Diego County

(619) 296-0161

Marine & Family Services Children

(760) 725-6212

North Coastal Consortium for Special Education

(760) 761-5120

Office of the State Council

On Developmental Disabilities

Area Board XIII

(619) 688-3323

San Diego/Imperial Counties

Development Services, Inc.

(858) 576-2966

St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center

(619) 442-5129

Stepping Stone Resources

(760) 728-6951

United Cerebral Palsy

San Diego County

(858) 571-7803 Ext. 115

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