A law was signed this week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that mandates at least two unannounced inspection visits per year at mental-health facilities to help prevent and report abuse, while Cuomo vetoed a bill providing earlier notice of changes to families receiving child-care assistance.
The unannounced inspection law was signed Wednesday and will go in effect immediately. The previous inspection law only required one unannounced visit per year, Gannett’s Ashley Hupfl reports.
The amended law was praised by Michael Carey, the father of Jonathan Carey, an autistic teen who died from abuse at a mental facility in the Albany area. New York has been criticized for its oversight of its residential-care homes.
“Another vital step has been taken toward making it safer for people with disabilities living in residential-care facilities that have had systemic problems of abuse and neglect,” Carey said in a statement.
Also on Cuomo’s desk to be signed was a bill that would have required local Departments of Social Services and the Office of Children and Family Services to provide earlier notice to families receiving care when they lose eligibility or would have a pay increase. The bill was vetoed.
The current law requires families to have at least 10 days notice; the proposed bill would have set a minimum of 60 days notice. Cuomo argued that the regulation would not be effective.
“The stated purpose of the bill is to give earlier notice to families of impending child care assistance changes, but this legislation would not ensure or even require any earlier notice to recipients than the currently mandated minimum 10 days’ notice. The legislation would simply “request” that providers post the notice of prospective benefits changes,” Cuomo wrote in the veto.
Cuomo directed the OCFS commissioner to review the current law and determine if more than 10 days notice is needed to inform families of changes.