New York Injury Law Blog

New Program to Protect NY Special Needs Residents Proposed by Gov. Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a new legislation this week that would set New York apart from the rest of the states with the “strongest standards and practices in the nation for protecting people with special needs and disabilities.” 

The legislation is in reaction to the more than 10,000 allegations of abuse against New Yorkers with special needs and disabilities in state operated programs.  To eliminate abuse in the state facilities, and to protect those being cared for in the homes, Cuomo announced Monday that the state will put a new process in place to protect the state’s most vulnerable citizens. 

Cuomo is proposing legislation to create a new agency to investigate and oversee the facilities.   Citing that for too long NY has been inconsistent in how it addressed incidents of abuse against people with special needs, the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs is “an initiative that will transform how the state protects over one million New Yorkers in State operated, certified or licensed facilities and programs.” 

“This is about safeguarding the civil rights of the more than one million New Yorkers with disabilities and special needs who for too long have not had the protections and justice they deserve,” Governor Cuomo said in the announcement. “The creation of a Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs will give New York State the strongest standards and practices in the country for protecting those who are often the most vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment.” 

Components of the Justice Center, according to the press release, include: 

  • An Executive Director, Special Prosecutor and Inspector General, and a substantial staff of trained investigators, lawyers and administrators who will have concurrent authority with district attorneys to prosecute abuse and neglect crimes committed against such persons.
  • Development of 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.
  • Development of common standards for investigations and requirements to be used to train investigators. 

In addition, the proposal will replace “confusing and inconsistent definitions of abuse and neglect in various laws and regulations with a single consistent standard applicable to human services systems.”

“The allegations of abuse and neglect of individuals in State-run care are very serious. In light of this, the Governor has put forward a package of thoughtful reforms that recognize the importance of protecting New York’s most vulnerable citizens and providing peace of mind for the family, friends and loved ones of those affected,” said Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos.

Our Binghamton medical malpractice and wrongful death attorneys praise the Governor for taking action against the abuse happening against this especially vulnerable population. 

If you feel that you or a loved one has suffered injury or illness due to medical malpractice, contact Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney today for a free review of your case. Call our 24-hour answering service at (607) 724-7700 or submit our online contact form.

About Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney

Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney handles all types of personal injury and motor vehicle accident cases, including cases involving cars, trucks, motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles and boats. The firm also represents clients in actions for wrongful death, cancer misdiagnosis, dog bites, hunting accidents, birth injuries, brain injuries, construction accidents, fall down injuries and insurance settlements. The firm regularly employs accident reconstruction experts, investigators, photographers and economists to assist in evaluating and preparing personal injury cases. In 2008, the firm reached the $100-million mark in combined lifetime verdicts and settlements. The firm features offices in Binghamton, Elmira, Rochester, Syracuse and Watertown. For more information, call (800) TALK-LAW or use the firm’s online contact form.

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