Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Executive Director Denise M. Miranda announced the Justice Center conducted several trainings and presentations in July, as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to educate provider agencies and caregivers about incident reporting and the Justice Center’s abuse prevention initiatives, and to enhance the knowledge and skills of investigators.

The Justice Center conducted trainings and presentations at locations in New York City, Albany and western New York to staff and investigators employed by both state and non-state operated service providers. Some presentations were made in conjunction with service provider agencies under the jurisdiction of the Justice Center.

Investigative Training

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

In July, the Justice Center’s Law Enforcement Training Academy (LETA) offered a session of the agency’s investigations training program to investigators employed by provider and state operated agencies. A session was offered in Manhattan and 24 investigators completed the program. LETA additionally provided training on incident investigation to NYS Department of Health (DOH) investigators based on material prepared in cooperation with DOH. LETA provided this training session at DOH’s Rochester regional office, and 24 DOH staff attended.

“Investigators need the latest information and appropriate skills and techniques if they’re going to successfully investigate incidents of abuse and neglect of people with special needs,” said Larry Murello, Deputy Director of the Law Enforcement Training Academy. “We are here to train investigators so they can understand the unique challenges posed by the cases they are pursuing.”

You can view the Justice Center’s training schedule here: https://www.justicecenter.ny.gov/media/news/training-opportunities.

Education and Outreach

The Justice Center works in partnership with provider agencies and their staff to ensure all are aware of the importance of reporting abuse and neglect, and their obligations under the law. “Our staff reaches out across the state to be sure care givers understand what their legal responsibilities are when they witness or become aware of incidents of abuse or neglect,” said Justice Center Deputy Director of Outreach, Prevention, and Support Davin Robinson.

Among the presentations and outreach efforts made by the Justice Center in July was the first Code of Conduct Train the Trainer program at the Alliance for Inclusion and Innovation in Albany. The Justice Center has partnered with the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals to develop an interactive and robust curriculum designed to assist organizations provide staff training on the Justice Center Code of Conduct. The objective of the curriculum is to ensure that staff who support people served under the jurisdiction of the understand the importance of the Code of Conduct and how it serves as a framework of professional conduct.  

The Justice Center’s goal is to prevent mistreatment of people with special needs and to ensure all allegations of abuse or neglect are reported and fully investigated. The Justice Center investigates, reviews and makes findings when it receives reports 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).