Careys call for expansion of Jonathan's Law

Several others spoke about residential abuse on behalf of the Careys, and letters from others and anonymous supporters were also read. Some of the letters were from parents who discovered abuses of their children and want more accessible records, others were from people employed as caregivers who witnessed abuses themselves.

"I was the supervisor of two residential group homes in upstate New York. I encountered direct care staff that neglected the consumers, used alcohol or drugs while on the job, stole from the residences, many that did not properly care for the consumers, and many who were not emotionally fit for caring for the disabled," Marie Haley wrote.

Another parent wrote to the Careys about the frustration of finding help for abuses she discovered.

"I have found no local agency to be helpful, or I was told 'We're looking into the matter,' and once I told the school I would go to the state police, they said my own behavior was becoming erratic," wrote Debbie Long.

Long has a son who went to a private facility in downstate New York between 1998 and 2000. She said her son began coming home with large black and blue marks on his body and that the facility conducted its own internal investigation.

She wrote that her requests for injury reports were ignored.

Michael Carey said he hopes the tragedy of his son's death will spur more changes in what he described as a broken system.

He also added that he and his wife are not against caregivers at large, but they believe that low pay, poor management and pre-screening, and hasty employment practices lead to many of the problems facing residential facilities in the state.

"Lisa and I know there are a lot of wonderful caregivers, and we're not speaking about them," Michael Carey said. "You have to have a lot of control if a child comes up and bites you. Let's face it; even the best of parents in tough times will do things they regret. They [the caregivers] deserve better pay. Especially in the private sector.""

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