The Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, as part of the agency’s ongoing efforts to educate provider agencies about its abuse prevention initiatives and enhance the knowledge and skills of its investigators, conducted a number of trainings and presentations throughout the State in March.

The training sessions and presentations were made on location in Dutchess County, Rockland County, Sullivan County, New York City, and Schenectady to staff and investigators employed by service providers and any of the six state agencies the Justice Center oversees. Some presentations were made in conjunction with service provider agencies under the jurisdiction of the Justice Center.

Investigative Training

The Justice Center is statutorily empowered to provide training to investigators and law enforcement personnel on appropriate and effective methods to investigate allegations that people with special needs have been abused or neglected.

“Investigators who receive our training are able to utilize the information we provide them to conduct effective and thorough investigations into acts of abuse and neglect against people with special needs,” said Lawrence Murello, Director of the Law Enforcement Training Academy. The training includes instruction on evidence collection, deception detection, interviews of people with disabilities, and report presentation. To view the Justice Center’s training schedule, follow this link: https://www.justicecenter.ny.gov/media/news/training-opportunities.

Training sessions were held in conjunction with ARC of Rockland County and New Hope Community in Loch Sheldrake. The Justice Center additionally conducted training sessions in its Schenectady office.

Education and Outreach

Although the Justice Center investigates incidents of abuse and neglect, it also works hard to prevent incidents from taking place through education and outreach efforts.

“The Justice Center is keenly interested in prevention – helping providers adopt useful methods to prevent incidents from occurring,” said Justice Center Deputy Director of Outreach, Prevention and Support Davin Robinson. “We are an information resource that can help employees understand what their responsibilities are. Equally important to us is that we receive feedback from the people responsible for filing incident reports so we can continue to improve our own operations.”

The Justice Center conducted a statewide webinar for the New York State chapter of the National Association of Social Workers regarding their duties as mandated reporters and presented to a group of service providers located in the Hudson Valley at the Deveraux Foundation in Red Hook as well as at the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies conference in New York City.

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE        Contact: Bill Reynolds 518-549-0200