Welcome to the interim website for the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs. Here we will post information about the implementation of the Justice Center, allowing visitors to provide us with their comments or questions, and we will provide answers to frequently asked questions.
Currently, the Justice Center’s project team is involved in operational planning, staffing and training in preparation for its opening on June 30, 2013. Until that date, reports of care and treatment issues or incidents involving an individual with a disability should continue to be made to the program or agency that is providing services to that person. You may also contact the New York State Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities at 1-800-624-4143 (Voice / TTY / Spanish).
For too long our state has been inconsistent in how it addressed incidents of abuse against people with special needs, lacking any real consistent standards for tracking and investigating complaints or punishing those who commit abuse and neglect.
Knowing that it is imperative that state government meet its obligation to protect and serve all New Yorkers, Governor Cuomo proposed legislation to create the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs to give New York State the strongest standards and practices in the nation for protecting people with special needs and disabilities.
Tens of thousands of New Yorkers, including advocates and families of people with special needs, came together to support this crucial legislation, which was passed by the State Legislature on June 20th. Click here to read more about the agreement.
The Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs will transform how our state protects over one million New Yorkers under the care or jurisdiction of six state agencies.
This legislation was developed, in part, from recommendations outlined in The Measure of a Society: Protection of Vulnerable Persons in Residential Facilities Against Abuse and Neglect, a special report prepared by Mr. Clarence Sundram, the Governor's Special Advisor on Vulnerable Persons.
SHARE YOUR STORY
- Set up a web cam, iphone or other device with video in a quiet room
- Say your name and where you live in New York
- Tell your story: what experiences in your life make you care about this issue
- Keep it short: most videos are 3-5 minutes long
The Governor’s proposal to create this Justice Center will help protect over one million New Yorkers with special needs and disabilities and include:
- A Special Prosecutor and Inspector General for the Protection of People with Special Needs
- A comprehensive statewide database that will track all reports of abuse and neglect
- A statewide register of workers who have committed serious acts of abuse and will be prohibited from ever working with special needs or disabled people again
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Learn more about the Justice Center:
- 24/7 Hotline to Report Abuse: The Justice Center will operate an around-the-clock hotline that will immediately classify the allegations and route reports to law enforcement agencies, when appropriate.
- Comprehensive Database: The Justice Center will create a comprehensive statewide abuse database to track and monitor abuse complaints in order to spot trends.
- Statewide Abuse Register: The Justice Center will create a register of workers who have committed serious acts of abuse who will be prohibited from ever being hired again in any position where they would work with people with disabilities or special needs.
- Consolidation of Background Checks: The Justice Center will review and evaluate the criminal history for individuals applying for a job or other position dealing with people with special needs and disabilities.
- Code of Conduct: All individuals working with people with special needs and disabilities would be required to subscribe and would be held accountable to a code of basic ethical standards.
- Special Prosecutor: The Justice Center will have a special prosecutor who will investigate and prosecute allegations of abuse and serious neglect that rise to the level of criminal offenses as well as a team of investigators and lawyers.
- Standardized Definitions for Abuse and Neglect: Currently, agencies operate with inconsistent and often contradictory definitions that become a hurdle in reporting instances of abuse, as well as litigating against cases of abuse. The Governor's legislation creates standardized definitions of abuse and neglect regarding children and adults in covered facilities and programs to enable the Justice Center to more easily process and address instances of abuse.
- Strengthened Anti-Abuse Laws: The proposed legislation will increase criminal penalties for endangering the welfare of people with disabilities and special needs, and strengthen a prosecutor's ability to prove that any of these individuals in a facility operated, licensed or certified by the State was a victim of sexual abuse.
- Commissioner Burke Presents Governor Cuomo's Legislation to Protect Vulnerable New Yorkers in Nassau County
- Commissioner Burke Presents Governor Cuomo's Legislation to Protect Vulnerable New Yorkers in Clinton County
- Statement from Governor Cuomo on Unanimous Senate Passage of Legislation to Create the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs
- Governor Cuomo Announces Statewide Coalition to Support Legislation Protecting People With Special Needs and Disabilities Grows to Over 100 Members
- Governor Cuomo Presents New Legislation to Protect Vulnerable New Yorkers in Westchester
- New York Times: Cuomo Seeking New Agency to Police Care of Disabled
- Governor Cuomo Announces First in the Nation Reforms to Protect People with Special Needs and Disabilities