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

The training sessions and presentations were made on location in Albany, Brentwood, Congers, Dix Hills, New Windsor, New York City, Rhinebeck, Rochester, Schenectady, and Syracuse to staff and investigators employed by service providers and any of the six state agencies the Justice Center oversees. Some outreach presentations were made in conjunction with service provider agencies under the jurisdiction of the Justice Center.

Investigative Training

The Justice Center is statutorily empowered to provide training to investigators and law enforcement personnel on appropriate and effective methods to investigate allegations that people with special needs have been abused or neglected.

“The training the Justice Center provides allows investigators to build on their knowledge base and skill sets, which in turn will help them conduct thorough investigations into acts of abuse and neglect committed against vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Lawrence Murello, Director of the Law Enforcement Training Academy. The training sharpens investigators’ skills, includes instruction on evidence collection, service recipient interviews, detecting deception. and report presentation. Role playing exercises are also conducted. To view the Justice Center’s training schedule, follow this link:

Training sessions were held in conjunction with ARC of Rockland County, Astor Services for Children and Families, Catholic Family Center, Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services, Sagamore Children’s Psychiatric Center, and Services for the Underserved. Justice Center investigators also provided disabilities awareness training to police recruits at the Police Chiefs’ Association of Orange County Police Academy.

Education and Outreach

Although the Justice Center investigates incidents of abuse and neglect, it also works hard to prevent incidents from taking place through education and outreach efforts.

“In addition to receiving reports of incidents of abuse and neglect and conducting investigations to ensure offenders are held accountable, the Justice Center focuses on prevention initiatives to guard against these incidents occurring in the first place,” said Justice Center Deputy Director of Outreach, Prevention and Support Davin Robinson. “We strive to inform and educate employees so they fully understand what their responsibilities are. Equally important to us is that we receive feedback from the people responsible for filing incident reports so we can continue to improve our work on behalf of people with special needs.”

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).

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Contact: Bill Reynolds (518) 549-0200