The NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to keep the public informed about the duty to report and investigate all allegations of abuse and neglect against people with special needs, conducted a number of presentations across New York State in October.

“The Justice Center works hard to help mandated reporters completely understand what they need to do when they report incidents to the Justice Center,” said Justice Center Director of Outreach Davin Robinson. “But we also want to receive feedback from professionals as we continue to improve the Justice Center’s operations.”

The presentations were made on location and over the web in the Capital District, Hudson Valley and New York City to a variety of audiences, including families, service recipients, staff working at residential facilities and agencies, direct support professionals, medical examiners, direct care workers, self-advocates, and mental hygiene legal service employees.

Training included presentations to New York State Police investigators on forensic interviewing of victims of abuse, abuse prevention. Presentations were also made to the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies and the Mental Health Association of New York State. Additionally, the Justice Center’s Special Prosecutor presented to the Mental Health Association of Orange County. Training was also provided to direct support professionals in collaboration with the National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals.

The Justice Center’s goal is to prevent mistreatment of people with special needs and ensure that all allegations of abuse or neglect are reported and fully investigated. The Justice Center investigates, reviews and makes findings when it receives reports of allegations of abuse and neglect by staff – including employees, volunteers, interns, consultants, or contractors – against individuals who receive services.

The Justice Center’s primary purpose and responsibility is to protect the health, safety and welfare of people with special needs who receive services or supports from state operated, certified or licensed facilities and programs.  The Justice Center oversees facilities or programs operated, licensed or certified by the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), Office of Mental Health (OMH), Department of Health (DOH), Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), and the State Education Department (SED).