House Unanimously Passes Legislation to Help Protect Persons with Developmental Disabilities from Harm

House Unanimously Passes Legislation to Help Protect Persons with Developmental Disabilities from Harm

BOSTON – This week, Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) and her colleagues in the House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation to create a registry of care providers who have harmed a person or persons with an intellectual or developmental disability. The bill’s purpose is to prevent those providers from being hired for programs funded or operated by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS).

The legislation, An Act to Protect Persons with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities from Abuse, 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.

“I was proud to vote in support of this bill to promote the safety and wellbeing of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Representative Meschino. “This legislation was thoughtfully developed to combat abuse, and will help give families across the Commonwealth peace of mind.”

The bill requires employers to consult 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.  The 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 balances these critical protections of the vulnerable with care provider rights.  The legislation includes robust due process protections for care providers with opportunities to appeal administrative rulings to a court of law.

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 for consideration.