DELMAR: Son's death spurs change

There's a New Testament passage that Michael and Lisa Carey of Glenmont have often referred to in the almost six months since their 13-year-old son Jonathan died Feb. 15.

And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Carey's story has received national attention. An autistic boy who could not speak. A son whose parents began to believe he was being mistreated at a downstate autism facility, and whose life came to a short and tragic end when two employees of O.D. Heck's Developmental Center were charged with fatally restraining Carey while driving on personal errands.

But since Jonathan's death, the Careys moved forward, pressing state officials for access to records involving their son, receiving the attention of powerful legislators like state Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, and getting Jonathan's Law passed as a state law allowing parents access to their children's records at residential facilities.

Now the Careys are looking for assistance from the community. Michael Carey is dissolving his Solo Auto Sales business on Delaware Avenue in Delmar and establishing The Jonathan Carey Foundation on the site.

We know Jonathan is in heaven and what we believe is that a lot of good can come from this, said Michael Carey, who believes many parents endure the same frustrations the Careys felt when trying to find out what was happening to their son at the Anderson School in Staatsburg in 2003.

It was at that school the Careys believe their son was being neglected and abused in what school officials termed was an "intense programming" of behavior modification for the child. Because of the Careys' fight, the state Commission on Quality Care (CQC), and the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) began their own investigation, but all records were sealed. Jonathan's Law now allows access to investigative records and reports regarding disabled children's safety at all state-run or private facilities.

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