Gov. Andrew Cuomo today signed a bill that strengthens and amends “Jonathan’s Law,” a law that protects children from abuse in state facilities.
Jonathan’s Law was enacted in 2007 after 13 year-old Jonathan Carey, who suffered from autism and lived in the Albany area, died from abuse that went unreported at a state facility, Gannett’s Ashley Hupfl reports.
“My precious son Jonathon was severely abused and neglected and then was later killed by his state caregivers, causing an outcry for open access and transparency regarding abuse investigation records,” Michael Cary, Jonathon’s father, said in a statement. “This common sense reform will bring about much needed transparency that will provide families with a better understanding of the law.”
The original 2007 bill required facilities to send reports and recorded incidents of abuse to family members in a timely manner.
However, the 2007 law prohibited the families to share the records of abuse with anyone, such as doctors. The original law confused families and made it unclear if they could seek help, including from lawyers and state officials, to stop the abuse, supporters of the change said.
Now the law allows the records to be disseminated. The New York Times reported in recent years about the widespread abuse at the group homes and the failure of the state to crack down on troubled workers.
The legislation was sponsored by Sen. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown, Rockland County, and Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, D-Nassau County.
“This legislation will strengthen Jonathan’s Law by clarifying how critical information can be shared in order to protect our most vulnerable populations,” Carlucci said in a statement. “This common sense reform will bring about much needed transparency that will provide families a better understanding of the law.”