New law adds protections for adults with intellectual disabilities

    The Pennsylvania legislature is moving to protect people with intellectual disabilities from abuse and neglect.

    The Pennsylvania legislature is moving to protect people with intellectual disabilities from abuse and neglect. The Adult Protective Services Law extends to adults the kinds of state-governed protections that are already in place for children and the elderly.

    For all Judi Ferrara knows, the men she suspects hit and choked her son Michael in 2008 could still be working with intellectually disabled adults.

    Michael was severely injured at his group home in 2008. Police investigated and two case workers were interrogated. But Ferrara says because of her son’s disability, nothing could be proven:

    Ferrara: Because Michael couldn’t say he did it, he did it, they couldn’t press a criminal complaint and that was the only avenue that we had, to have a record for these two individuals

    Ferrara says the new legislation would create an agency to investigate abuse cases, and that would mean a paper trail future employers could check.

    Ferrara:
    If we have adult protective services finally implemented in the state then what would happen is that if an investigation would be done and if there was abuse, even if you can’t get a criminal conviction these people would then be on a list, and other agencies could look to this list to see if they were in fact clean so to speak to work for them

    Members of the ARC of Delaware County which represents people with intellectual disabilities say many families would feel more comfortable contacting an agency rather than police to investigate abuse cases.

    Governor Rendell is expected to sign the law, but the measure has yet to be funded.

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