Abuse Goes Unchecked In Five States Lacking Protection Laws
Doctors say Michael Ferrara was punched and strangled but nothing happened to the caregiver who likely assaulted Ferrara in his Pennsylvania group home.
That’s because Pennsylvania is among five states without laws allowing local government to investigate abuse among adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. So individuals like Ferrara, 25, who lack communication skills and are unable to identify their attackers do not have the level of protection already provided to other vulnerable groups like children or elderly residents.
In Ferrara’s case, the abuse likely happened at the hands of his overnight caregiver, but no charges were ever filed. The worker was fired, but could very well work with other adults with disabilities now since the caregiver carries no record of the problem.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Legislation to protect adults with disabilities is currently pending in the Pennsylvania state legislature. Such legislation would create an adult protective services system whereby allegations of abuse would be logged and made available to employers.
Despite support for such a law, however, the anticipated $6 million annual cost is holding it up, reports the Philadelphia Daily News.