Senate passes Jonathan's Law

Today, Wednesday, April 18, the state Senate unanimously passed Jonathan's Law, two months after the death of 13-year-old Jonathan Carey, an autistic boy who died while in the care of O.D. Heck Development Center in Niskayuna.

The law ensures that parents and guardians have access to records pertaining to allegations and investigations of mistreatment of children in residential care facilities.

The parents of Jonathan Carey, Michael and Lisa Carey of Glenmont, began to fight for the law prior to their son's death, because of their belief that their son was abused while a resident of the Anderson School in Dutchess County.

Following an investigation by several state agencies, determinations of the school's extent of abuse was inconclusive. The Careys were denied the records of those state investigations on which those findings were based.

After the alleged abuse occurred at the Anderson School, the Careys pulled Jonathan out, eventually enrolling him in the O.D. Heck facility.

Jonathan Carey was killed while riding with two employees of O.D. Heck when he was allegedly restrained inappropriately while riding in the backseat of a van traveling on Central Avenue in Colonie on Thursday, Feb. 15.

\The death of Jonathan Carey was a tragic event, and the allegations that surfaced after his death concerning his treatment at not one, but two facilities that were entrusted with caring for him have made clear the need for this legislation, said state Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno, R-Brunswick. "Families of disabled children should be confident that they are receiving proper care. Jonathan's Law will make sure parents and guardians have full access to information about their children's treatment, leading to better oversight and care for vulnerable children in these facilities."

Both Michael and Lisa have been actively involved in the process of passing this law, lobbying on behalf of Jonathan and others in similar situations. Michael has said in the past that his hope would be that Jonathan's Law would bring sorely needed change in how the state cares for its disabled residents.

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