The NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to keep the public informed about the duty to report and investigate all allegations of abuse and neglect against people with special needs, conducted a number of presentations and trainings in New York State in January. The Justice Center’s training sessions for investigators employed by provider and state agencies increase their knowledge about effective ways to investigate incidents and crimes involving people with special needs.

“Education and proper training are extremely useful in preventing incidents of neglect and abuse,” said Justice Center Deputy Director of Outreach, Prevention and Support Davin Robinson. “Our staff travels all over the state to be sure employees completely understand what their responsibilities are. But these sessions are not just about us telling people what we know. We also solicit important feedback from those who are responsible for filing reports with us in our ongoing efforts to improve our work on behalf of people with special needs.”

The presentations and training sessions were made on location in Buffalo, Albany, Rochester and New York City to staff and investigators employed by service providers and any of the six state agencies the Justice Center oversees. Certain presentations were made in conjunction with the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies the NYS Coalition of Special Act School Districts, and the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals.

“Training is part of the Justice Center’s efforts to enhance investigators’ knowledge and skill sets necessary to ensure they conduct comprehensive and thorough investigations into incidents of abuse and neglect of vulnerable New Yorkers,” said Lawrence Murello, Director of the Law Enforcement Training Academy. To view the Justice Center’s training schedule, follow this link: https://www.justicecenter.ny.gov/media/news/training-opportunities.

The Justice Center’s goal is to prevent mistreatment of people with special needs and 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 allegations 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).

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