The Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs Executive Director Denise M. Miranda announced that the Justice Center conducted several trainings and presentations throughout the state in July and August, 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 their investigators.

The training sessions and education and outreach presentations were made at locations in Albany County, Dutchess County, New York City, Long Island, Niagara County, Otsego County, Warren County and Westchester County to staff and investigators employed by both state agencies 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.

“The Justice Center’s Law Enforcement and Training Academy plays a critically important role ensuring that investigators working for the state agencies or private providers under our jurisdiction are given the tools they need to complete thorough investigations,” said Director Larry Murello. “The training we provide includes instruction on evidence collection, deception detection, interviews of people with disabilities, and report presentation.”

The Law Enforcement Training Academy provided training in the Capital District, Hudson Valley and Long Island to officials and investigators employed by the state agencies and private providers. Nearly 50 individuals received training in disability awareness and how to investigate cases of abuse, neglect and significant incidents. To view the Justice Center’s training schedule, follow this link:

Education and Outreach

The Justice Center’s staff also reaches out across the state to caregivers to be sure they understand the importance of reporting abuse and neglect and how the investigatory process works.

“We make a point of going to employees’ work locations in areas all over the state to raise awareness on the importance of incident reporting and what happens during an investigation,” said Justice Center Deputy Director of Outreach, Prevention and Support Davin Robinson. “It is very important that providers and their employees know what legal protocols they need to follow when incidents occur.”

In July and August, Justice Center staff presented to or met with staff and officials at NY Children’s Center and the New York City Law Department – Family Court Division. In addition, the Justice Center conducted presentations at the Capital District Psychiatric Center Family Support group and presented a statewide webinar on mandated reporting for the NYS chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

The Justice Center’s goal is to prevent mistreatment of people with special needs and to 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 abuse and neglect by staff – including employees, volunteers, interns, consultants, or contractors – of 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 certain 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).