NYS Justice Center Issues First Annual Report
The NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs (the Justice Center) released its first annual report, describing the agency's efforts to strengthen the reporting, investigation and resolution of incidents of abuse and neglect in 3,000 facilities and programs that serve individuals with special needs. According to the report, from June 2013 through June 2014, the Justice Center has:
- Created a Staff Exclusion List to bar abusive caregivers from employment with facilities and programs that serve individuals with special needs, and placed 17 individuals on the list.
- Established a statewide 24/7 toll-free hotline to receive reports of abuse, neglect and other incidents.
- Created 84,294 reports as a result of the hotline in the Vulnerable Persons Central Register (nearly 40 percent of these reports were not related to an incident of abuse or neglect, but were reported by individuals seeking information or involved incidents that fell beyond the Justice Center’s jurisdiction; many may also be duplicative).
- Instituted an automated case management system that tracks cases from report to determination.
- Initiated investigations and provided training and support to State and local law enforcement agencies, which resulted in the substantiation of 571 cases of abuse or neglect and 73 arrests.
- Provided legal support for State agencies to promote effective employee discipline.
- Prosecuted 22 criminal cases.
- Provided advocacy and resources for victims and families.
The Justice Center will pilot a Vulnerable Person Task Force in each of its four regions in 2015, bringing together professionals from government agencies and private organizations to coordinate responses to reports of abuse and neglect of people with special needs in New York State, and to develop best practices for the treatment of these cases.
A compilation of Justice Center data collected from January through November 2014 is also available.
The Justice Center is an independent State agency established to protect the interestes of individuals with special needs served by certain facilities and programs overseen by the Office of Mental Health, Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, Office for Children and Family Services, the Department of Health and the Education Department.
Contact: Karen Lipson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 518-867-8383, ext. 124