Legislation to Protect People with Special Needs Reviewed

May 24, 2012

The Commissioner of the New York State Office For People With Developmental Disabilities met with members of the advocacy community in Plattsburgh this afternoon to explain legislation offered by Governor Cuomo to strengthen protections for people with special needs.

Governor Cuomo's proposed legislation would establish the strongest standards and practices in the nation for protecting people with special needs and disabilities. Commissioner Courtney Burke says it defines abuse, neglect and dangerous conduct, creates safeguards, and creates a Justice Center to aggressively investigate incidents of neglect and abuse.

Commissioner Burke says there is considerable inconsistency under current laws that would be corrected through this legislation.

Adirondack Arc is a chapter of NYSARC, operating in Franklin and Hamilton counties to support people with developmental disabilities.  CEO Sadie Spada is optimistic that the legislation will  strengthen the system.

St Joseph’s Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Centers Outpatient Services Director and Clinical Social Worker Melinda Drake works with the chronically mentally ill and says the legislation is about keeping individuals safe.

Sunmount Developmental Disabilities Services Office Director Stephen DeHond says an important part of the proposal are provisions that would remove the bad apples currently working in the system.

The state Senate has passed the legislation, but has there has been no action in the Assembly.