McKevitt Helps Guide “Jonathan’s Law” To Passage In State Capitol

Legislation designed to protect children from abuse and mistreatment at residential care facilities
May 2, 2007

As Ranking Minority Member of the Committee on Mental Hygiene, Assemblyman Tom McKevitt (R,C,I-East Meadow) has been instrumental in passing “Jonathan’s Law”, which will ensure greater access to records regarding mistreatment of children in residential care facilities.

The legislation is named after Jonathan Carey, a 13-year-old autistic teen, who tragically died after being mistreated by his caretakers at a state run facility. His parents battled for years to gain full access to information maintained by several state agencies and facilities regarding the care of their son.

“The primary goal of this legislation is to ensure that patients in residential care facilities receive the highest quality and level of care and that families do not endure similar pain and tragedy experienced by the Carey family,” said McKevitt. “I am pleased that we are taking steps to reform a broken state system so that families can gain access to information leading to better oversight and care for vulnerable children.”

“Jonathan’s Law” does the following:

  • A facility must provide telephone notice of an incident involving a patient receiving care at a facility within 24 hours of the initial report of the incident to the parent or guardian.
  • Records pertaining to allegations and investigations into patient abuse at a facility must be released to a parent or guardian upon written request within 21 days of the conclusion of the investigation.
  • The Commission on Quality Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (CQCAPD) is directed to prepare and disseminate a pamphlet on the right to access records pertaining to patient care.
  • Requires CQCAPD to notify parents or legal guardians when there is credible evidence of alleged abuse and mistreatment.
  • Establish a Task Force on Mental Hygiene Records to study and make recommendations regarding access to patient records and reports.
  • The Commissioner of Mental Hygiene must develop a remediation plan within ten days of a substantial report of child abuse or mistreatment from a facility noncompliant with state regulations.