After a series of startling cases of neglect in state homes for the disabled, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced legislation to create a new state agency to investigate abuse in state facilities.
Cuomo called on the state Legislature to create a Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs. The center, which would have about 400 new and current state employees, would investigate and prosecute allegations of abuse of the disabled.
The agency would have a special prosecutor and inspector general and would work with local district attorneys to pursue any potential criminal offenses. Cuomo said the plan would include a hotline to report any abuse by state workers.
“Our goal is that the state of New York should have the best human service agencies in the nation. Period. That’s our goal. That’s what we deserve,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo said people with special needs are the state’s “most vulnerable” and “they deserve to the safe. They deserve human dignity; they deserve to be treated fairly, free from abuse.”
Last year, there were more than 10,000 allegations of abuse against people in state facilities for the disabled. The new center will oversee any allegations made through six state agencies that oversee the state’s facilities.