January 17, 2018
For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General issued a report that found numerous incidents of abuse and neglect of people with developmental disabilities living in group homes. In response, NDRN Executive Director Curt Decker issued the following statement:
“I would like to thank the HHS Office of Inspector General for investigating this issue. The findings outlined in the OIG audits are disturbing and corroborate conditions and treatment our network has found in group homes in Alabama, Kentucky, North Carolina, and elsewhere.
“However, there is one glaring omission among OIG’s solutions that States can use to protect the health and safety of group home residents: the nation’s Protection and Advocacy System (P&As).
“P&As are federally funded disability rights agencies that exist in every state and territory with special Congressional authority to monitor, investigate and attempt to remedy adverse conditions in large and small, public and private, facilities that care for people with disabilities.
“P&A staff consist of advocates and attorneys who specialize in investigating the abuse and neglect of people with disabilities. They have the training and demonstrated experience necessary to uncover rights violations through investigation, monitoring and oversight, and to provide individualized assistance to people in need of help.
“Like the states of Washington and Maine have chosen to do, it is time for other States to begin funding this tremendous resource that is already available to them. In addition, the federal government needs to step up with additional funding for the P&As so that the impressive work being done nationwide can expand further into the community where more and more people with disabilities want to (and are) living, working, and being fully integrated members of the community ”
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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.