Archive for the ‘Tara's Law’ Category

‘Tara’s Law’ Will Protect Disabled From Abuse

May 18, 2010

Alocal family’s quest for justice after the death of their young relative has resulted in landmark legislation signed into law that will protect developmentally disabled people who are in the care of the state.

“This is a great first step,” said Sen. JenniferBeck (R-12th District), a primary sponsor of the bill, in an interview on May 7. “It’s hard to believe that there was no formal system in place to prevent abusers from continuing to be part of the provider system until now.”

On April 30, Gov. Chris Christie signed the bill that creates an internal registry within the Department of Human Services (DHS) of caregivers who have been found to have abused people with developmental disabilities under their care.

“Abuse at the hands of a caregiver is a reprehensible action,” Christie said in a statement. “The legislation that I am signing today is an important tool to help safeguard those with developmental disabilities from harmful caregivers taking advantage of their position. Equally important, this new law will prevent these custodians from gaining re-employment or continuing participation in human services-funded programs.”

Senate Bill S-825, known locally as Tara’s Law, requires the DHS to maintain a confidential registry of paid caregivers and volunteers who have been determined to have abused, neglected or exploited any service recipient of the DHS Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). This includes those employed as caregivers in facilities licensed, contracted or regulated by the DHS.

Full Article and Source:
Tara’s Law Will Protect Disabled From Abuse

See Also:
Two Indicted for Neglect of Tara O’Leary

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Legislator Calls on AG to Investigate Division of Developmental Disabilities

December 27, 2009

State Sen. Jennifer Beck is calling on the state attorney general to investigate the state Division of Developmental Disabilities’ oversight of disabled individuals who are placed with caretakers in the community.

In a letter to New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram dated Dec. 9, Beck called for a “complete and thorough investigation into the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) by your office.”

Beck said there are some 1,200 individuals currently in Community Care Residences (CCRs) and that she has good reason to believe these problems pervade the system and are not unique to a case in which two caregivers of a developmentally disabled woman were arraigned after a woman died from neglect in a state-licensed sponsor home.

Tara O’Leary, a 29-year-old developmentally disabled woman who had been living in a sponsor home run by Debra Sloan, of Bloomsbury, Hunterdon County, for several years weighed just 43 pounds when she died in November 2008.

Sloan, the sponsor responsible for O’Leary’s daily care, and Bridget Grimes, of Phillipsburg, O’Leary’s habilitation coordinator with the Division of the Developmentally Disabled (DDD), a section of the New Jersey Department of Human Services DHS) tasked with ensuring that O’Leary received appropriate care, were arraigned at the Warren County Courthouse on Dec. 11.

Beck attended the Dec. 11 arraignment in the courtroom of Judge John J. Coyle in Warren County.

“Today’s arraignment of Bridget Grimes and Debra Sloan is a call to action for the entire state of New Jersey to make sure that no one else suffers Tara’s fate,” Beck said. “I do believe that these two women should be held accountable for the role they [allegedly] played in allowing Tara O’Leary to starve to death under the care of a state caseworker and a state-sanctioned sponsor home, and the state must investigate deeper to assure that this is never permitted to happen again.”

Full Article and Source:
Beck Faults State Oversight of Caretakers of Disabled

See Also:
Two Indicted for Neglect of Tara O’Leary

Two Indicted for Neglect of Tara O’Leary

November 3, 2009

A private caretaker and a New Jersey caseworker have been indicted on charges that they neglected a developmentally disabled woman who died last year after her weight dwindled to less than 50 pounds.

Debra Sloan, who cared for developmentally disabled adults for 28 years under a contract with the state, was charged with crimes that include aggravated assault, neglect of an elderly or disabled person, theft and criminal restraint.

State habilitation plan coordinator Bridget Grimes of Phillipsburg was charged with the same crimes, plus official misconduct in an indictment filed Friday by a Hunterdon County grand jury. She was responsible for monitoring clients’ care and condition.

Tara O’Leary, a 28-year-old woman born with brain deformities, scoliosis and other medical problems, had for at least five years lived in the Alexandria Township home of Sloan, who had a contract with New Jersey’s Division of Developmental Disabilities.

Sloan’s home was one of about 600 that provide care for more than 1,200 adults under the system. The state says Sloan was paid more than $51,000 per year to care for three women.

According to medical records, O’Leary weighed 95 pounds in September 2007 — thin, but not alarmingly so for a woman only 4 feet 10.

Eleven months later, her aunt, Patricia O’Leary, visited her and found her niece to be gaunt, with unwashed hair and shoes on the wrong feet. She was so upset that she asked to be named legal guardian for her niece, who had not had one since her father died in 2005.

In September 2008, the state removed Tara O’Leary — who then weighed less than 50 pounds — and the two other women from Sloan’s home. One of the other women, Erin Germaine, also had lost half her body weight.

In a hospital, Germaine recovered. O’Leary regained some weight, but did not fully recover. She died on Nov. 10. Neither Grimes nor Sloan were charged with her death.

The indictment accuses Sloan of keeping O’Leary and Germaine in conditions “manifesting extreme indifference to human life,” improperly confining them to their rooms and exploiting the third woman, Lydia Joy Perry, by making her serve as caregiver to O’Leary.

Sloan also is accused of stealing from O’Leary and Germaine by using their money as her own.

Full Article and Source:
2 Charged in the Death of Disabled NJ Woman

See Also:
Tara’s Law

Tara’s Law – Legislation

Tara’s Law

August 1, 2009
A bill designed to protect individuals with developmental disabilities who are living in community care residences has been introduced by 12th District legislators.

Sen. Jennifer Beck and Assembly members Declan O’Scanlon and Caroline Casagrande hosted a press conference July 21 at their office in Red Bank to announce the introduction of Tara’s Law.

Tara’s Law would require written monthly case manager reports about individuals with developmental disabilities who are residing in community care residences and would establish a registry of offending community care residence providers.

O’Scanlon: “This law will strengthen the accountability of monitors. People at every level will be responsible for reporting abuse. People will be held personally responsible.”

The creation of the law was inspired by the tragic death of 29-year-old Tara O’Leary, a developmentally disabled woman who despite her family’s best efforts to gain custody of her, remained in the care of the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), which placed her in a setting where she is believed to have been maltreated and neglected. She subsequently died in November 2008, weighing 49 pounds, according to a press release from the 12th District legislators.

Full Article and Source:
Tara’s Law to give ‘voice to the voiceless’

See also:
Tara’s Law – Legislation

>Tara’s Law

August 1, 2009

>

A bill designed to protect individuals with developmental disabilities who are living in community care residences has been introduced by 12th District legislators.

Sen. Jennifer Beck and Assembly members Declan O’Scanlon and Caroline Casagrande hosted a press conference July 21 at their office in Red Bank to announce the introduction of Tara’s Law.

Tara’s Law would require written monthly case manager reports about individuals with developmental disabilities who are residing in community care residences and would establish a registry of offending community care residence providers.

O’Scanlon: “This law will strengthen the accountability of monitors. People at every level will be responsible for reporting abuse. People will be held personally responsible.”

The creation of the law was inspired by the tragic death of 29-year-old Tara O’Leary, a developmentally disabled woman who despite her family’s best efforts to gain custody of her, remained in the care of the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), which placed her in a setting where she is believed to have been maltreated and neglected. She subsequently died in November 2008, weighing 49 pounds, according to a press release from the 12th District legislators.

Full Article and Source:
Tara’s Law to give ‘voice to the voiceless’

See also:
Tara’s Law – Legislation

Patient-Protection Bill Introduced

July 23, 2009
Three Shore area legislators who intervened on behalf of the family of a 29-year-old woman who weighed 43 pounds when she died at a community care residence last November have introduced legislation to protect other people in the state human services system.

Flanked by relatives of the late Tara O’Leary, State Sen. Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon announced the introduction of legislation which, if passed, would provide greater oversight and protection for patients. It includes establishing a 24-hour hotline to report suspected abuse and would create a registry of caseworkers and caregivers found guilty of neglecting or abusing patients and prohibit them from working in that field again.

Full Article and Source:
Patient-protection bill introduced after malnourished woman’s death

See also:
Family Wants Answers

Death Prompts Investigation

>Patient-Protection Bill Introduced

July 23, 2009

>

Three Shore area legislators who intervened on behalf of the family of a 29-year-old woman who weighed 43 pounds when she died at a community care residence last November have introduced legislation to protect other people in the state human services system.

Flanked by relatives of the late Tara O’Leary, State Sen. Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon announced the introduction of legislation which, if passed, would provide greater oversight and protection for patients. It includes establishing a 24-hour hotline to report suspected abuse and would create a registry of caseworkers and caregivers found guilty of neglecting or abusing patients and prohibit them from working in that field again.

Full Article and Source:
Patient-protection bill introduced after malnourished woman’s death

See also:
Family Wants Answers

Death Prompts Investigation

Family Wants Answers

December 5, 2008
Eileen Devlin and Maureen Faletti are trying to determine why their cousin was maltreated and neglected while in the care of the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).

Devlin and Faletti reached out to 12th District legislators for help in becoming legal guardians for their cousin Tara O’Leary, who died at the age of 29 on Nov. 10. At the time of her death, she was said to weigh only 43 pounds.

“We’re looking for answers and we’re looking for justice, and we’re very concerned regarding other people this could be happening to.”

Devlin said as a family, they are trying to figure out how O’Leary could end up in such a bad situation after they were reassured that she was in the care of a DDD caretaker’s home.

She said the family was kept away from O’Leary because of the so-called guardian.

Full Article and Source:
Family members search for answers – Cousins turned to 12th District officials for help with guardianship

See also:
Death Prompts Investigation

>Family Wants Answers

December 5, 2008

>

Eileen Devlin and Maureen Faletti are trying to determine why their cousin was maltreated and neglected while in the care of the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).

Devlin and Faletti reached out to 12th District legislators for help in becoming legal guardians for their cousin Tara O’Leary, who died at the age of 29 on Nov. 10. At the time of her death, she was said to weigh only 43 pounds.

“We’re looking for answers and we’re looking for justice, and we’re very concerned regarding other people this could be happening to.”

Devlin said as a family, they are trying to figure out how O’Leary could end up in such a bad situation after they were reassured that she was in the care of a DDD caretaker’s home.

She said the family was kept away from O’Leary because of the so-called guardian.

Full Article and Source:
Family members search for answers – Cousins turned to 12th District officials for help with guardianship

See also:
Death Prompts Investigation

>Death Prompts Investigation

November 30, 2008

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A young woman spent her last weeks of life emaciated and with bed sores, and now her family and lawmakers are holding the State of New Jersey responsible for her death. The developmentally disabled woman was being cared for in a group home overseen by the state.

When Tara O’Leary was 26 she was developmentally disabled but healthy. But when she died three years later, she was hospitalized, just 48 pounds and in unspeakable pain. The case is now prompting a full review of similar group homes.

The problems began when the woman’s father died in 2005 and her stepmother took over as guardian. The problem was, she wasn’t a legal guardian, yet was allowed to act like one, denying the family access to O’Leary, or letting them know the location of the group home where she was being cared for.

The family said O’Leary’s case worker told them all the right things: “Oh, Tara’s needs are being met fully.” “She couldn’t be in a more loving environment.” “This family loves her and cares for her as she was her own.”

But inside the home, O’Leary was withering away, and was finally rushed to the hospital where things went from bad to worse. The 29-year-old died on November 10. The case worker has been suspended and the group home has been shut down.

With more than 1,200 developmentally disabled adults in New Jersey, lawmakers want to know who’s caring for them, and if they are okay.

Full Article and Source:
N.J. Family Alleges Abuse At Home For Disabled

See also:
Death of 48-pound disabled woman prompts NJ probe

New Jersey officials investigate state-licensed caretaker after death of 28-year-old woman

Authorities investigating death of Hunterdon County woman

Death of 48-pound disabled woman cues NJ probe

Death of 43-Pound Disabled Woman Prompts Probe (Video)