Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Executive Director Denise M. Miranda has announced that four New Yorkers and one organization were honored for their service to people with special needs at the First Annual Justice Center Champion Award ceremonies in Albany. The award is issued to people and organizations in recognition of their support for people receiving services under the jurisdiction of the Justice Center.

Nominees include service providers under the jurisdiction of the Justice Center, individual staff members, community members or people receiving services. Justice Center employees place someone’s name in nomination and the name is reviewed by a Justice Center Committee, which makes recommendations to the Executive Director.

“I am delighted that these award recipients have been honored for the action they’ve taken to protect people with special needs,” said Executive Director Miranda. “They have made a big difference in the lives of some of New York’s most vulnerable people, and for that they deserve this recognition. I want to thank Justice Center staff for their nominations and recommendations.”

The following were issued the Champion Award at an Albany luncheon:

Charles Schwartz, M.D., New York, NY – In his role as the first chair of the Justice Center’s Medical Review Board, Dr. Schwartz has provided invaluable assistance and volunteered countless hours of time to provide the Justice Center with medical expertise to help ensure that vulnerable persons in New York State receive the best possible care.

National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) – Albany, NY – NADSP was selected in recognition of its assistance with the Justice Center’s workforce outreach efforts. NADSP’s work has helped the Justice Center to develop a strong partnership with direct care workers to protect the health and well-being of people receiving services.

Theresa Hastings & Rachael Long, Niskayuna Barber Shop, Niskayuna, NY – This award recognizes the critical role Theresa and Rachael played in reporting abuse and neglect of a person receiving services in 2016. Their report to the Justice Center led to an investigation and arrest of the person who committed the abusive act. Without their actions, this incident would have likely gone unreported, potentially subjecting more individuals to abusive behavior.

Kevin Gwinn, Detective, Southampton Town Police Department, NY – The detective was selected because of the invaluable assistance he provided to the Justice Center during investigations into criminal abuse and neglect allegations. Detective Gwinn was among the first members of local law enforcement to reach out the Justice Center, resulting in the first indictment filed by the Justice Center. Since that time, he has continued to work collaboratively with the Justice Center on multiple criminal investigations.

The awards were issued September 14, at the luncheon hosted by the Justice Center’s Advisory Council.

For immediate release: September 15 2017    Contact: Bill Reynolds 518-549-0221