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Governor Seeks to Protect People with Special Needs from Abuse

June 7th, 2012

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed legislation that would create new government offices to help prevent abuse against people with special needs.  Now, with unanimous Senate passage, the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs is one step closer to being created.  The legislation would create the offices of Inspector General and Special Prosecutor for the Protection of People with Special Needs, to investigate and prosecute reports of neglect or abuse.

“I commend the Senate for unanimously passing legislation that will help give more than one million New Yorkers with disabilities and special needs the protections and justice they deserve,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement.  “Now both the Senate and Assembly need to work towards a final agreement so we can create the Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs this year. New Yorkers who have been the victims of abuse or mistreatment cannot afford any delay in action.”

A grassroots coalition of more than 100 groups has formed to encourage passage of the legislation.  The coalition is reaching out to supporters via social media like Facebook and Twitter, as well as old-fashioned word-of-mouth, and the campaign seems poised for success.

Advocacy groups said that the legislation is needed to protect the civil rights of vulnerable people and help families know that their loved ones are protected from abuse when they are in the care of the state.

“This is a tremendous advance in weeding out, prosecuting and preventing any future NYS based human services work for those who abuse New Yorkers with disabilities,” said Harvey Rosenthal, of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, Inc. (NYAPRS).

For more information, visit our website at www.specialneedsnewyork.com.

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