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.
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Tara’s Law Will Protect Disabled From Abuse