NYSARC, Inc. Urges New York State Assembly to Pass Justice Center Legislation

Pending legislation would create independent watchdog organization to provide oversight and advocacy

DELMAR, NY (05/24/2012)(readMedia)-- NYSARC, Inc., the nation's largest non-profit organization supporting people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, strongly supports "The Protection of People with Special Needs Act" and urges the Legislature to pass the measure.

"The Protection of People with Special Needs Act" would finally provide uniform standards, definitions, and procedures across the broad spectrum of human services organizations, including those under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health, the Office of Mental Health, the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, the Office of Children and Family Services, the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, and the State Education Department.

The Act would create a new agency, "The Justice Center for Protection of People with Special Needs." The Center would finally provide the dedicated expertise which the abuse and neglect of vulnerable people demands. Included in its responsibilities, the Center would investigate the most serious allegations, eliminating conflicts of interest that arise when agencies perform their own investigations. The Justice Center would be the first ever independent watchdog organization of its kind in the Nation.

In addition, the Governor's legislation would require providers to place family members, advocates, and consumers on incident review committees to review any serious incidents that occur.

According to NYSARC, Inc. President John A. Schuppenhauer, "The vast majority of our employees are dedicated, hardworking people whom parents, family members, and people with developmental disabilities depend on as a lifeline for the health, well-being, and inclusion as full citizens in communities across the State. But in a system of services as large as the one in New York State, we owe it to everyone – people with developmental disabilities, families, and employees – to ensure that the tools exist to focus on the most egregious cases and protect the interests of everyone who is impacted by the vexing issues and challenges of abuse and neglect."

"We strongly believe that the uniform definitions of abuse, standardized procedures for going after it, and a central registry – all of which are included in the Act – will go a long way to reassure our families that their loved ones' best interests are being protected and that they will be afforded a safe and healthy environment."

About NYSARC, Inc.

NYSARC, Inc. is the largest not-for-profit organization in New York State and the United States supporting people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families. The 55 Chapters comprising the family-led Organization provide services in every County in New York State. NYSARC, Inc. supports over 60,000 individuals, employs 30,000, and has a membership of nearly 87,000. To find your local Chapter, please visit www.nysarc.org today.