Selective Genocide is occurring in New Jersey!
After an investigation, it became clear to this writer that I am safer walking the streets of the most crime-ridden inner-city neighborhoods than many developmentally disabled adults who are in residential care.
The young man pictured below died within hours of being admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of a New Jersey hospital. As the resident of a private, “non-profit” developmental center, his case manager was present when he choked on a candy wrapper, but did nothing. Other residents of the same center were beaten by staff and were also admitted to Intensive Care.
Thousands of cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation of developmentally disabled adults are reported each year, but few are investigated. The parents have cited the limited scope of a bill called “Tara's Law”, as many of their children have died, or suffered lifetime physical and psychological injuries.
The issue of abuse, neglect and exploitation of individuals with developmental disabilities who are in residential care in New Jersey has been brought to the public arena in recent months by this group of parents, whose sons and daughters have died or suffered serious physical injuries.
In a recent op. ed. article, this writer described the complaints of these parents when members of the new Jersey State Legislature designed “Tara’s Law”, which would provide protections for this vulnerable population, but would limit those protections to the residents of Community Care Residences (foster homes).
Not included in those protections would be the residents of the larger developmental centers, group homes, nursing homes, supervised apartments, and those in day training programs. In essence, 95 percent of the target population would be excluded.
Nevertheless, the parents have been determined to put a public face on the problem by posting photographs of their sons and daughters. The images that the parents have provided alter the issue and convey that the victims are “real people”. For example, Matthew Goodman (photo to the left) died at the Bancroft School as a result of the restraints that were applied 24 hours per day.
A daughter of one of the parents, Perfelia Russo, was beaten at the Belvidere Group Home.
Direct care staff are lowly paid employees, rarely earning more than minimum wage/ In addition, the screening of prospective direct care workers is often conducted with little oversight, as the “non-profit” organizations are desperate to hire low-paid workers. Often, these workers are not employable anywhere else.
The result is an assembly of employees who are angry about the hard work that they must perform at a very low wage. Often, their frustrations are taken out on those they are responsible to care for.
In addition, both public and private residential centers are not open to transparent investigations. When an episode of abuse occurs, the centers prefer to conduct their own private investigations, with little oversight. At stake is Medicaid funding and the reputation of the residential center.