The Justice Center was created through legislation known as the “Protection of People with Special Needs Act,” to protect the health, safety and dignity of all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
People with I/DD should be treated with respect, protected from abuse, neglect and mistreatment. Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the people we serve is a shared responsibility, and is essential to the mission of The Arc New York.
While the creation of the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs has resulted in some positive outcomes, it has also created unfunded, administrative burdens on providers. Additionally, some people we support have been negatively impacted by the agency established to protect them.
We propose to amend the “Protection of People with Special Needs Act” to simplify and streamline reporting requirements and investigative processes, which impede the hiring and retention of qualified personnel and lead to other problems that needlessly tie up resources critical to maintaining adequate care. Specifically, we propose to:
- narrow the definition of neglect to remove subjective and nebulous language, and to eliminate arbitrary and capricious determinations; and
- provide safeguards for staff and managers who make a reasonable determination whether a case is reportable or not to the Justice Center to prevent the Justice Center from charging an employee with “obstruction of a reportable incident” simply for making a good faith decision that the Justice Center may not agree with.