At the conclusion of the Assembly Appropriations Committee Hearing in March, Deputy Speaker Gary Schaer expressed his concern about the chasm between providers and parents regarding the camera surveillance legislation. A circumstance which became apparent during the Stephen Komninos’ Law deliberations and which ABCD finds unsettling. Our agencies work diligently to ensure a positive working relationship with their families and were deeply troubled by the feelings expressed by this group of parents during hearings throughout the years. So, 6 months ago, ABCD’s Board directed the ED to express to the Ombudsperson our desire to meet with any willing parent to help bridge the toxic divide that ultimately hurts the people we are charged to help. We are very pleased that the Acting Commissioner plans to convene a meeting for later this month which will include a representative from each of the trade associations and parents. We were also very pleased when a parent initiated and reached out to the ABCD’s ED to discuss the camera bill. The conversation was multileveled, lengthy, and positive. Unsurprisingly, we both ardently support the promotion of quality of care and prevention of abuse of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities though we disagree on how that can best be achieved for all people across the group home settings. ABCD continues to believe to address this the evidence of the effectiveness of electronic monitoring devices is central as are the overlapping ethical issues. To date, we are unaware of any research in support.
We understand that parents want the ability to see that their adult children are okay, that some parents do not trust the state and providers to care for their adult children and have been betrayed by the system. These are important issues which must be addressed head-on. Family members are integral to the provision of care and success of the people we serve.