DDS: Regional Abuse and Neglect Reporting Protocol

Regional Abuse and Neglect Reporting Protocol


 Abuse and Neglect System
 
 

State of Connecticut DDS
Regional Abuse and Neglect Reporting Protocol

The CT Department of Developmental Services (DDS) system of reporting and investigating allegations of the abuse and neglect of individuals with an intellectual disability is governed by CT General Statutes, and is applicable to all individuals who participate or reside in programs operated, funded or licensed by DDS and who receive funded supports or services from DDS or qualified providers, including the individuals who reside at Southbury Training School (STS).


Every DDS and Qualified Provider employee or volunteer is mandated by Connecticut General Statute 46-11a to report suspected abuse or neglect of any individual with an intellectual disability.


If there is reasonable cause to believe that abuse or neglect has occurred, a mandated reporter MUST immediately (1) intervene to stop the abuse/neglect and protect the victim and (2) report it to the appropriate authorized reporting agency.

The report must be made directly to someone, since voicemails do not fulfill the responsibility of a mandated reporter.



AUTHORIZED AGENCIES:

 AID (victim age 18-59*)
 Abuse Investigation Division (formerly known as the
Office of Protection and Advocacy, OPA or P&A
1-844-878-8923
 

 DSS (victim over age 59)

Department of Social Services
Centralized Intake
1-888-385-4225
& DDS A&N Liaison
 DCF (victim under age 18)

Department of Children and Families
Care Line 1-800-842-2288
& DDS A&N Liaison




DISABILITY RIGHTS CONNECTICUT (DRCT) formerly OPA

Due to recent statutory changes, the Abuse Investigation Division (AID), formerly of the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (OPA), has moved to DDS and is housed at the DDS Central Office in Hartford.  The “new” OPA is now a private agency called Disability Rights Connecticut (DRCT) and may be contacted at (860) 297-4300 or toll free at 1-800-842-7303.The former OPA closed July 2017.

The allegation should also be reported to the appropriate regional Abuse/Neglect Liaison:

DDS - Department of Developmental Services

North Region:
Paula Zeiner, A&N Liaison
155 Founders Plaza
255 Pitkin Street
East Hartford, CT 06108
Phone: 860.263.2469
Fax: 860.263.2514

Assistant:
Kathleen Davis
860.263.2583
South Region:
Tawnia Pacheco, A&N Liaison
35 Thorpe Avenue, 3rd Floor
Wallingford, CT 06492
Phone: 203.294.5077
Fax: 860.622.2712


Assistant:
Vacant
203.294.5151

West Region:
Kenerick Brown, A&N Liaison
55 West Main Street, 3rd Floor
Waterbury, CT 06702
Phone: 203.805.7456
Fax: 860.622.2677


Assistant:
Damaris Hueras
203.805.7463

 
Southbury Training School (STS):
Kenerick Brown, A&N Liaison
STS Human Rights Office    Southbury, CT 06488
(Contact information noted above under West Region.)


If abuse or neglect of an individual with an intellectual disability which occurred in a medical facility is suspected, or the alleged perpetrator is a service provider licensed by the State Department of Public Health (DPH), the appropriate authorized agency(s) should be notified.  The allegation should also be reported to DPH.  The DPH number for reporting such allegations is (860) 509-7552.  The AID or DDS will notify the Department of Public Health (DPH) to investigate.

*Anything that the AID does not take (which includes, but is not limited to, individuals who are over or under age, allegations of verbal abuse, psychological abuse, financial exploitation and incidents for non-ingested food consistency violations) should be reported to the DDS Abuse & Neglect Liaison by contacting the Liaison directly.  Allegations of abuse by way of financial exploitation, psychological abuse, and verbal abuse, which do not currently fall under the jurisdiction of the AID or another state agency, may be investigated by the DDS Division of Investigations (DOI) Investigators, DDS pool investigators, or DDS qualified provider pool investigators.

For additional information or questions, please contact the Regional DDS Abuse & Neglect Liaison.

Qualified providers may also elect to contract with a Connecticut licensed private investigator, who has completed the DOI investigation training, to conduct the investigation within that agency. 

Additionally, local police departments or the Connecticut State Police may be notified based on the nature of the allegation. 

All allegations are documented on forms mandated by the respective state agency.  Allegations and the investigatory process are tracked in the DDS regions by the DDS Abuse/Neglect Liaisons to ensure compliance with prescribed time frames for the completion of investigations.
 
All investigations into allegations of abuse and neglect are conducted by trained investigators from the AID, DDS, DDS qualified provider community, or by a contracted licensed private investigator.  All AID, DDS, qualified provider pool and contracted licensed private investigators must attend investigation training pertaining to the investigatory process.  This training is provided by the DOI Director and Investigators.  Investigations conducted by DDS, qualified provider pool and private investigators, and contracted licensed private investigators are monitored and reviewed for completeness and accuracy by the DOI Investigators.  Any assistance provided by a DDS DOI Investigator in the completion of a DDS or qualified provider investigation is noted in the completed investigation report.
 
The AID or DOI Investigators will conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding an individual’s death when abuse or neglect is suspected.  All recommendations contained in the investigation report are addressed by DDS.
 
The DDS Abuse and Neglect System requires the reporting and investigation of abuse and neglect, as defined by the DDS Regulations.  All DDS and qualified provider staff receive training in these definitions and reporting requirements.

Abuse and Neglect DDS Regulation Definitions:

Abuse :

The willful infliction by a caregiver of physical pain or injury, or the willful deprivation of services necessary to the physical safety of an individual.

Psychological Abuse:

Acts that inflict emotional harm, invoke fear and/or humiliate, intimidate, degrade, demean or otherwise negatively impact the mental health or safety of an individual.

Verbal Abuse:

The use of offensive and/or intimidating language that can provoke or upset an individual.

Neglect:

The failure by a caregiver, through action or inaction, to provide an individual with the services necessary to maintain his or her physical and mental health and safety, including incidents of inappropriate or unwanted individual to individual sexual contact.  Neglect is also a situation in which an individual lives alone and is not able to provide for him/herself the services which are necessary to maintain his physical, mental health or safety.

Financial Exploitation:

The theft or misappropriation of property and/or monetary resources which are intended to be used for or by an individual.

Sexual Abuse:

Any sexual contact or encouragement of sexual activity between a family member, paid staff or a volunteer and an individual, regardless of consent. 

Investigation Findings

All investigation reports completed by the DDS DOI Investigators, and by DDS and qualified provider pool and contracted licensed private investigators, are reviewed and approved by DDS Administrators and are forwarded to the agency having statutory jurisdiction over the investigation process as warranted, based on the age of the victim.

The findings of all completed investigations are tracked by the three DDS regional Abuse/Neglect Liaisons.  If an allegation is substantiated and recommendations are generated as a result of the substantiation, or if the allegation is not substantiated but recommendations are generated, the three DDS regional Abuse/Neglect Liaisons track recommendation responses and receive verification of timely implementation.  The implementation of recommendations contained in an investigation report is also monitored by the DDS Quality Service Review system.


DDS Abuse and Neglect Registry

The Connecticut General Statutes §§ 17a-247a-247h require that DDS establish and maintain a registry of former employees who have been terminated or separated from employment with DDS or an entity or person funded or licensed by DDS as a result of substantiated abuse or neglect. 

When an employee is terminated or separated from employment with DDS or an entity or person funded or licensed by DDS, for substantiated abuse or neglect, the employer must notify DDS.  After verification of necessary information contained in the investigation report, DDS will notify the terminated employee, and schedule an administrative hearing, the outcome of which will determine if the employee’s name should be placed on the DDS Abuse and Neglect Registry.

For purposes of placement on the Registry, the following definitions apply:

“Neglect” means the failure by an employee, through action or inaction, to provide an individual who receives services or funding from the department with the services necessary to maintain such individual's physical and mental health and safety.

“Psychological abuse” means an act intended to (A) humiliate, intimidate, degrade or demean an individual who receives services or funding from the department, (B) inflict emotional harm or invoke fear in such individual, or (C) otherwise negatively impact the mental health of such individual.

“Sexual abuse” means (A) any sexual contact between an individual who receives services or funding from the department, regardless of such individual's ability to consent, and an employee, or (B) the encouragement by an employee of an individual who receives services or funding from the department to engage in sexual activity.

“Verbal abuse” means the use of offensive or intimidating language that is intended to provoke or cause the distress of an individual who receives services or funding from the department.

“Abuse by way of financial exploitation” means the theft, misappropriation or unauthorized or improper use of property, money or other resource that is intended to be used by or for an individual who receives services or funding from the department.

If placed on the Registry, the employee is prohibited from volunteering with or being employed by DDS or any agency, organization or individual that is licensed or funded by DDS for a minimum of five years for a finding of abuse and two years for a finding of neglect beginning when the employee’s name is placed on the Registry.  After that time, the employee may submit a written request to the Commissioner of DDS to have his or her name removed from the Registry for good cause shown.

No employer licensed or funded by DDS may hire a person whose name appears on the registry or retain an employee after receiving notice that his or her name so appears.
 
Prior to the employment of any applicant by DDS or an employer licensed or funded by DDS, the employer must inquire to the DDS Human Resources Division if the potential employee’s name is on the DDS Abuse and Neglect Registry.  If on the registry, the employer shall not hire the applicant.

Semi-annually, DDS, issues a notice to all employers, licensed or funded by DDS, containing the name of each former employee placed on the registry.