The Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Executive Director Denise M. Miranda announced the Justice Center conducted several presentations and trainings in June, 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 education and outreach presentations and training sessions at locations in Albany, Broome, Onondaga, St. Lawrence and Schenectady counties 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.

Education and Outreach

The Justice Center works in partnership with provider agencies and their staff about the importance of reporting abuse and neglect, and their obligations under the law. “Bearing in mind the challenges employees face when serving people with special needs, the Justice Center works to help staff understand what their obligations and responsibilities are when they become aware that incidents of abuse or neglect have occurred,” said Justice Center Deputy Director of Outreach, Prevention, and Support Davin Robinson.

In June, the Justice Center made presentations to family members of people receiving services, staff members employed by state agencies whose programs the Justice Center oversees, as well as staff at the Neil Hellman School, coordinators for the Capital District EAP program, and Youth Power University Conference participants in Albany. Additionally, the Justice Center provided an overview of the agency’s work to providers and direct care staff in Ogdensburg and a statewide webinar on the agency’s Surrogate Decision-Making Committee program to staff and officials of ARC of NYS.

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 June, the Justice Center’s Law Enforcement Training Academy offered two sessions of the agency’s investigations training program to investigators employed by provider and state operated agencies. The sessions were offered in Schenectady and Binghamton and 44 investigators completed the program. LETA additionally provided training on incident investigation to NYS Department of Health investigators based on material prepared in cooperation with DOH. This pilot session of the training was offered at DOH’s NYC regional office, and 32 DOH staff attended.

“Investigating incidents of abuse and neglect of people with special needs can involve unique challenges, requiring the latest training and information,” said Larry Murello, Deputy Director of the Law Enforcement Training Academy. “It is our job to provide investigators the tools they need to conduct effective investigations in these cases.”

You can view the Justice Center’s training schedule at the link below:

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).