Mission & Vision
People with special needs shall be protected from abuse, neglect and mistreatment. This will be accomplished by assuring that the state maintains the nation’s highest standards of health, safety and dignity; and by supporting the dedicated men and women who provide services.
The Justice Center is committed to supporting and protecting the health, safety, and dignity of all people with special needs and disabilities through advocacy of their civil rights, prevention of mistreatment, and investigation of all allegations of abuse and neglect so that appropriate actions are taken.
Our Values and Guiding Principles
- Integrity: The Justice Center believes that all people with special needs deserve to be treated with respect and that people’s rights should be protected.
- Quality: The Justice Center is committed to providing superior services and to ensuring that people with special needs receive quality care.
- Accountability: The Justice Center understands that accountability to the people we serve and the public is paramount.
- Education: The Justice Center believes that outreach, training, and the promotion of best practices are critical to affect systems change.
- Collaboration: Safe-guarding people with special needs is a shared responsibility, and the Justice Center is successful because it works with agencies, providers, people who provide direct services, and people with special needs to prevent abuse and neglect.
Who is Protected by the Justice Center?
The Protection of People with Special Needs Act defines a "vulnerable person" as someone who, due to physical or cognitive disabilities or the need for services or placement, is receiving care from a facility or provider within the systems of the State Oversight Agencies (SOA):
Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)
- Facilities and programs that are operated, certified, or licensed by OPWDD
Office of Mental Health (OMH)
- With some exceptions, facilities and programs that are operated, certified, or licensed by OMH
Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)
- Facilities and provider agencies that are operated, certified, or licensed by OASAS
Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS)
- Facilities and programs operated by OCFS for youth placed in the custody of the Commissioner of OCFS
- OCFS licensed or certified residential facilities that care for abandoned, abused, neglected, and dependent children, Persons in Need of Supervision, or juvenile delinquents
- Family-type homes for adults
- OCFS certified runaway and homeless youth programs
- OCFS certified youth detention facilities
Department of Health (DOH)
- Adult care facilities licensed by DOH that have over 80 beds, and where at least 25 percent of the residents are persons with serious mental illness and where fewer than 55 percent of beds designated as Assisted Living Program (ALP) beds
- Overnight, summer day and traveling summer day camps for children with developmental disabilities under the jurisdiction of DOH
State Education Department (SED)
- New York State School for the Blind
- New York State School for the Deaf
- State-supported (4201) schools, which have a residential component
- Special Act School Districts
- In-state private residential schools approved by SED
- Residential schools or facilities located outside of New York State that serve New York State residents
Legislation Creating Justice Center
The Protection of People with Special Needs Act of 2012 is the legislation that established the Justice Center. It created uniform definitions of abuse an neglect across all facilities and provider agencies, established the Staff Exclusion List, consolidated background check procedures, and established a code of conduct for direct support professionals among many other reforms.