House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo along with his colleagues in the House of Representatives unanimously passed legislation to create a registry of care providers who harmed a person or persons with an intellectual or developmental disability. The bill seeks 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’m proud that the House to action today to further ensure the safety and wellbeing of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities,” said Speaker DeLeo, (D – Winthrop). “Thank Chair Michlewitz and Chair Khan for their important work on this issue. This legislation will save lives.”
“I am proud to join my colleagues in the House in voting to pass Nicky’s Law, which will protect our most vulnerable residents with developmental disabilities against abuse from caretakers,” said Rep. RoseLee Vincent (D-Revere). “Thank you to Chairwoman Khan and Chairwoman Dean-Campbell for ushering this important piece of legislation through the House under the leadership of Speaker DeLeo. Many lives will be improved, and many families will have peace of mind because of Nicky’s Law.”
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.
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.
“It was an honor to work with Speaker DeLeo, Chair Campbell, Vice Chair Cutler, dedicated families, advocates and other stakeholders to address the abuse of individuals with disabilities,” said Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton), Chair of the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. “The creation of the registry will provide future protections for our most vulnerable individuals. It is deserving that Nicky’s Law is one of the lead pieces of legislation being addressed in 2020.”
The bill will now go to the Senate.