NYSARC Urges Passage of Key Bill in the Wake of Second New York Times Article

Bill would terminate employees with substantiated allegations of abuse

DELMAR, NY (06/06/2011)(readMedia)-- NYSARC, Inc., the nation's largest parent and family-governed organization supporting people with developmental disabilities, urges the Legislature to immediately pass Senate bill 5257-b by Carlucci and Assembly 7670-b by Weisenberg. The legislation requires immediate termination of employees with substantiated allegations of physical or sexual abuse and is a direct response to the first New York Times story published on March 13th.

"Today's New York Times story on abuse against people with developmental disabilities makes it crystal clear that action, not words, by the Legislature is critical to begin dealing with the appalling revelations in the New York Times," said Marc Brandt, NYSARC's executive director.

"Abuse is a complex issue which requires a complex solution. But there is action that can be taken now. Senate 5257-b and Assembly 7670-b is that action," Brandt stated.

"Currently, an employee subject to the terms of the State's collective bargaining agreement who has committed an act of serious abuse against an individual with developmental disabilities generally gets a slap on the wrist and returns to care for individuals who are extremely vulnerable to the worst impulses of others. This is unbelievable, outrageous, and appalling. Passage of this legislation would put an end to that," Brandt explained. "Our legislation would terminate employees with substantiated allegations of physical or sexual abuse regardless of whether they work for the State or any other provider."

According to the New York Times' March 13th article, of 399 substantiated allegations of serious abuse by 233 employees in state-operated group homes, the State sought termination of 129 of those employees. A mere 30 were actually terminated. The rest returned to work, often repeating the same offense again.

"Abuse and poor treatment are not just a problem of the State-operated system," Brandt said. "It is a problem for all programs and is embedded within the attitudes of all of society. No one is completely innocent."

About NYSARC, Inc.

NYSARC, Inc. is the largest not-for-profit in New York State and the United States serving individuals with intellectual and 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 82,000.