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.
- Operating a statewide toll-free, 24/7 hotline which receives reports of allegations of abuse, neglect and other incidents which have the potential to harm the health, safety or welfare of people receiving services.
- Ensuring that all reports of abuse and neglect are fully investigated, collaborating with law enforcement agencies and, when necessary, prosecuting allegations that rise to the level of criminal offenses.
- Providing guidance and support to victims of abuse or neglect, their families, personal representatives and guardians. Services include information about reporting and investigative processes, case status updates and accompanying victims and witnesses to interviews and court proceedings.
- Maintaining a staff exclusion list, a new central register containing the names of staff people found responsible for serious or repeated acts of abuse and/or neglect that are prohibited from ever caring for people with special needs again.
- Operating a toll-free, Information and Referral service that assists individuals with disability-related issues, connects them to services and provides technical assistance.
- Maintaining a Disability Resource Clearinghouse which provides web links to information about disability-related programs, services, laws and regulations. Disability navigators are available by phone and email to connect individuals to services and offer technical assistance.
The Justice Center is responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of the more than one million New Yorkers, who due to physical or cognitive disabilities or the need for services or placement are receiving care from a facility or provider that is operated, licensed or certified by:
- Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)
- Office of Mental Health (OMH)
- Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS)
- Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS)
- State operated programs/facilities
- Certified residential programs
- Department of Health (DOH)
- Certain adult homes and summer camps
- State Education Department (SED)
- Residential schools and programs certified by SED
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