New Measure Would Protect People With Special Needs
Governor Andrew Cuomo is pushing the 'Justice Center For The Protection of People With Special Needs,' which would give the New York the strictest standards in the nation for protecting special needs people.
According to Governor Cuomo, the Justice Center would better track and investigate abuse or neglect claims.
The state would be able prosecute alleged abusers, create a 24/7 hotline to report abuse and form a database of employees who have abused people.
The legislation would also develop common standards and a Code of Conduct for employees and create more detailed background checks.
Officials say the measure would cut down on the red tape when it comes to reporting abuse.
"We could feasibly report to four to five agencies, state agencies, right now on one particular case," said Jefferson Rehabilitation Center Quality Services Coordinator Jennifer Draper.
Disabled Person's Action Organization and JRC officials say the proposed 24/7 abuse hotline gives a voice for people afraid to speak up.
"People are reluctant to report because they feel repercussions. So if they do it in this anonymous fashion, through a hotline, we may get more accurate reporting," said Howie Ganter of JRC.
"If they could have an abuse hotline, similar to the child abuse hotline, it would be definitely a help," said Cindy Fitzpatrick of DPAO.
Governor Cuomo says he hopes lawmakers act quickly on this proposal, calling on them to pass it into law before the end of the legislative year.