Legislator: Bill to Protect Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled Passes

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A bill that would create a registry of care providers who have harmed a person or persons with an intellectual or developmental disability unanimously passed in the House of Representatives recently. The bill seeks to prevent those providers from being hired for programs funded or operated by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS), and from caring for vulnerable individuals in the future.

State Rep. James Arciero, who contributed to bill’s passage, announced the event on Jan. 21.

“This is a great piece of legislation as it extends and strengthens protections for a very vulnerable group of individuals in our commonwealth. A very dynamic group of people worked on getting this legislation passed and I am thrilled to have been part of that process,” said Arciero.

The legislation, An Act to Protect Persons with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities from Abuse, commonly known as Nicky’s Law, creates a registry of care providers against whom the Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DCCP) has made a final decision regarding “substantiated findings” of acts resulting in serious physical or emotional injury of a person with an intellectual or developmental disability.

The bill requires care provider employers to check the registry prior to hiring or retaining any person as a care provider and prevents employers from hiring or retaining any provider who appears on the registry. Those employers include those with DDS licenses for day services, those that have contracts with DDS, and those receiving funding from DDS. Under the bill, DCCP imposes monetary fines or other penalties on any employer that fails to comply. The legislation also includes due process protections for care providers.

“It was great to work with Ann McDonough and Linda Cox of Westford, both long time advocates for children with developmental disabilities, to move this bill through the legislative process and bring to the house floor for passage,” Arciero stated.

The legislation builds on ongoing increased support for those departments serving adults and children with intellectual or developmental disabilities. From 2012 to 2020, DPPC funding has increased by 93 percent.

The bill will now go to the Senate to be finalized before heading to Governor Baker for consideration.