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New Jersey Department of Human Services

New Jersey Department of Human Services

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New Jersey Department of Human Services

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  1. New Jersey Department of Human Services Central Registry of Offenders Against Individuals with Developmental Disabilities

  2. The Central Registry: • Created by New Jersey Statute, Title 30:6D 73 et seq. • Landmark legislation- NJ is one of a handful of states to enact similar legislation to help protect individuals with developmental disabilities. • Signed into law by Governor Christie on April 30, 2010. • Registry was implemented on October 27, 2010.

  3. What is the Central Registry? A confidential web-based registry, maintained by DHS, of paid caregivers and volunteers determined by the Department to have abused, neglected or exploited an individual with a developmental disability.

  4. Who Does the Central Registry Protect? • Individuals with developmental disabilities receiving care or services from: • State-operated programs; • Facilities or programs licensed, contracted or regulated by DHS; • State-funded, community-based services.

  5. Important Provision of the Registry Law: Requires Reporting of Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation: Allegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation by a caregiver against a person with a developmental disability MUST be immediately reported to the Department of Human Services (DHS) by telephone or in-person. 1-800-832-9173

  6. Who is Required to Report Allegations? • The responsibility to report allegations applies to any person: • Employed or volunteering in a program, facility, community care residence or living arrangement- licensed or funded by DHS; • A person providing community-based services; • An employee of the Department.

  7. Important Note for Agencies • Agencies should follow the Department’s reporting procedures by reporting allegations through the Unusual Incident Risk Management System. • Reporting allegations through UIRMS satisfies reporting requirements.

  8. Are There Consequences for Not Reporting? • Yes. • A person who fails to report an act of abuse, neglect or exploitation will be deemed to have committed a Disorderly Persons Offense and shall be subject to applicable legal penalties.

  9. What is Considered Abuse, Neglect or Exploitation? • Examples of abuse include, but are not limited to: • Death; • Serious physical injuries- including head injuries, internal injuries, burns, exposure to or ingestion of noxious substances, bodily wounds, bone fractures, sprains or dislocations, human bites; • Injuries resulting in unexpected hospitalizations or trips to the emergency room. • Acts of physical aggression, including kicking, punching, slapping, hair pulling or hitting.

  10. Other Examples of Abuse (cont.): • Mental or emotional impairment, not related to the underlying physical or emotional disabilities of the service recipient; • Risk of harm due to substance abuse by the caregiver or service recipient; • Acts that demean, humiliate or intimidate; • Use of unapproved restraints.

  11. Other Examples of Abuse (cont.): • Sexual penetration; • Sexual exploitation; • Sexual molestation; • Substantial risk of sexual injury; • Sexually transmitted diseases.

  12. Examples of Neglect: • Inadequate supervision; • Abandonment or desertion; • Inadequate food, clothing, shelter; • Malnutrition; • Medical neglect.

  13. Examples of Exploitation • Theft or use of a service recipient’s property or private funds; • Misappropriation of a service recipient’s identity; • Having a service recipient perform labor for which he or she is not compensated.

  14. The Law Provides: • Immunity from any civil or criminal liability and immunity from legal testimony as a result of reporting; • Option to seek court relief in situations of discrimination or discharge from employment when reporting allegations was made in good faith.

  15. Who Can Be Placed on the Central Registry? • An individual in the role of caregiver, who is determined through a DHS investigation to have abused, neglected or exploited an individual with a developmental disability. • Caregiver is defined as a person who: • Receives state funding, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, to provide services, supports, or both, to an individual with a developmental disability. • Individual can be paid directly or indirectly by the state; a contracted or licensed employee; a volunteer, alternate or respite provider.

  16. The law excludes immediate family members from placement on the Central Registry “Immediate Family” means: A parent or sibling; child by blood, adoption, marriage or civil union; spouse; grandparent or grandchild.

  17. Immediate Family Members in Care Giving Roles…. May still be investigated for abuse, neglect or exploitation, and other acts, however, regardless of the finding, they cannot be placed on the Central Registry for Offenders Against Individuals with Developmental Disabilities.

  18. Who Investigates Allegations for Possible Placement on the Central Registry? • The Department’s Special Response Unit (SRU) will investigate the most serious allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation in agency and community settings. • The Department’s Investigative Response Teams will investigate all allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation in the Department’s Developmental Centers.

  19. Information Regarding a Registry Investigation is Protected Information. • Considered confidential and is not considered a public or government record; • Can only be disclosed under circumstances expressly authorized by DHS rules and regulations; • Cannot be disclosed if disclosure would likely endanger the life, safety, or physical or emotional well-being of an individual with a developmental disability or of any other person; • Cannot be disclosed if it may compromise the integrity of a departmental, civil or criminal investigation or judicial proceeding.

  20. Consideration for Placement on the Registry Begins with: • The findings of the Department’s investigation. • The investigating unit notifies the alleged perpetrator, and as applicable, also notifies the alleged perpetrator’s employer of its findings; • As appropriate, the alleged victim is notified; • As applicable, the alleged victim’s guardian is also notified of the investigative findings.

  21. A “Substantiated” Finding is Based on the “Preponderance of Evidence” Standard. • “Preponderance of evidence” means the superior evidentiary weight, that, although not sufficient to free the mind wholly of all reasonable doubt, is still sufficient to incline a reasonable person to conclude that the allegation is more likely true than not.”

  22. Elements for Consideration for Placement on the Central Registry: • In addition to rendering a finding for an allegation, the Department’s investigating unit will determine if any/all of the following additional elements also exist: • In cases of substantiated abuse, whether the caregiver acted intentionally, recklessly or with careless disregard resulting in an injury or exposing the individual to a potential injury. • In cases of substantiated neglect, whether the caregiver acted with gross negligence, recklessness or evidenced a pattern of behavior that caused harm or placed an individual in harm’s way.

  23. In Cases of Substantiated Abuse, a Determination is Made as to Whether the Caregiver Acted: • Intentionally; • Recklessly; or, • With careless disregard. to the well-being of the service recipient resulting in injury to an individual with a developmental disability or by exposing the individual to a potentially injurious situation.

  24. What Do These Elements Mean? • Intent: the mental resolution or determination to commit an act. • Recklessness: the creation of a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm to others by a conscious disregard for that risk. • Careless disregard: the lack of reasonableness and prudence in doing what a person ought not to do or not doing what ought to be done.

  25. In Cases of Substantiated Neglect: • A determination will be made whether the caregiver acted with: • Gross Negligence; • Recklessness; or, • Evidenced a pattern of behavior that caused harm to an individual with a developmental disability or placed that individual in harm’s way.

  26. What Do These Elements Mean? • Gross Negligence: A conscious, voluntary act or omission in reckless disregard of a duty and of the consequences to another party. • Recklessness: The creation of a substantial and unjustifiable risk of harm to others by a conscious disregard for that risk. • Pattern of behavior: A repeated set of similar wrongful acts.

  27. In cases of a substantiated incident of exploitation: Any single act or set of acts that dispossesses a service recipient or group of service recipients of a monetary value of $100.00 or more.

  28. In Cases of a Substantiated Finding; • The Department’s investigating unit will notify the caregiver in writing, whether or not he or she will be considered for placement on the Central Registry. • The investigating unit will also refer the matter to the DHS Commissioner or the Commissioner’s designee, who shall determine whether the perpetrator will be considered for inclusion on the Central Registry.

  29. Department’s Intention to Place an Individual on the Central Registry: • Decision made by the Commissioner or their designee; • Results in Departmental notification to the perpetrator, perpetrator’s employer, and the licensing or contracting unit providing funding to the perpetrator of the intention to place on the Central Registry.

  30. Notification will include: • The perpetrator’s name; • Unusual Incident Reporting (UIR) number; • Date upon which the decision was made; • Brief description of the incident and findings; • In cases of placement on the Central Registry, a summary of the right to appeal procedures.

  31. Upon Placement on the Central Registry The individual shall cease all contact with persons with developmental disabilities, except immediate family members, for whom they directly or indirectly receive state funding. *Note- upon notification of an allegation of abuse, neglect or exploitation, the Department, agencies or facilities may also take action as necessary to ensure the safety of the individual with a developmental disability.

  32. Criteria for Placement on the Central Registry: • Based on a substantiated finding of abuse, neglect and/or exploitation; • Substantiated incident also involves any or all of the additional elements (i.e. intent, recklessness); • Based on a departmental recommendation that the incident warrants inclusion of the individual on the Central Registry; • An informal hearing (if requested) with the perpetrator results in a determination that placement on the Central Registry is warranted;

  33. Individuals Identified for Placement on the Central Registry: • Within 10 days of notification may seek the following: • An informal hearing with a representative of the Department; • Within 30 days of notification, may also seek the following: • An Administrative Hearing through the Office of Administrative Law. Appeal procedures are in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act - (N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1)

  34. Can an Individual Come Off the Central Registry? • Yes. • May be removed from the Central Registry during the appeal process if the Department determines an error has been made; • Otherwise, an individual placed on the Central Registry can seek to be removed after five years; • Individual seeking removal after five years, must demonstrate and evidence satisfactory rehabilitation based on identified criteria within DHS regulations to the Department.

  35. The Central Registry • Maintained by the Critical Incident Management Unit in the DHS, Office of Program Integrity and Accountability; • A web-based system that permits entities that employ caregivers in state-operated facilities or programs licensed, contracted or regulated by the Department, or those providing state funded community based services, to check the names of employees or prospective employees; • Agencies/providers who provide care giving services to individuals with developmental disabilities complete a Central Registry registration form for DHS approval to gain access the Central Registry; • Agency CEOs, State or Executive Directors are given a DHS issued, User ID and password;

  36. Who is Required to Check the Central Registry? • Every entity that employs caregivers, including volunteers, respite providers and alternates in a state-operated facility or program licensed, contracted or regulated by the Department; • Also includes employers providing state-funded, community-based services directly or indirectly to individuals with developmental disabilities; • In situations where an individual receives self-directed funds, the employer of record is required to check the Central Registry.

  37. Who is Required to Check the Central Registry? (cont.) • The DDD Regional Home Developer will conduct a check of the Central Registry for all Community Care Residence providers and their adult occupants, age 18 years and over and any alternates; • Anytime a Community Care Residence provider has a new occupant or an alternate, the name shall be immediately provided to the DDD Regional Home Developer, who will check the name against the Central Registry.

  38. How Frequently Must the Central Registry be Checked? • Prior to each new hire of a caregiver, including- employees, volunteers, alternates and respite providers; • Each time a new name is added to the Central Registry, DHS will send an e-mail advisory alert to all Central Registry users- the Central Registry shall be re-checked by all employers at that time.

  39. Requirements/ Responsibilities of Facilities; Licensed, Regulated and/or Contracted Employers • Obtain consent (available on DHS OPIA website) from caregivers and volunteers for checking their name against the Central Registry; • Obtain documentation that caregivers and volunteers are aware of their duty to report allegations and cooperate with an investigation; • Check current and prospective employees (before employment) against the Central Registry;

  40. Requirements/ Responsibilities (cont.): • Document and maintain evidence that the Central Registry was checked on all existing and prospective employees and volunteers. Documentation must be available for Department review/inspection; • The law also applies to out-of-state facilities that contract with the Division of Developmental Disabilities; • Out-of-state providers for New Jersey are also required to conduct a similar check of their own system (if available).

  41. This Central Registry and Regulations….. Help ensure the safety and well-being of our most vulnerable clients. Thank you for your efforts in promoting and advancing this important process and protective tool. Questions/Additional Information- Visit the DHS website: Or contact the DHS, Office of Program Integrity and Accountability at: (1-609) 292-1617