Monday, March 24, 2008

Where the Hell is the OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM?!?!

There’s a glaring need yet to be addressed in all the dancing around the abuse/neglect of people with developmental disabilities in Oregon. That is an INDEPENDENT Ombudsman program. There needs to be a mandate that group homes and foster care homes must work cooperatively with this program.

It should involve unannounced visits at all times of the day and night, where a trained person comes into these residences and checks out what’s going on. The only paperwork they should be concerned with is medical, incident reports, and communication logs. They should interview both the people living there and the staff who work there. If the resident(s) are unable to communicate, the investigator should ask more questions of more people who know the individual. Finally, the non communicative person should be flagged as being a potential target.

If the ombudsman has suspicions or finds that abuse or neglect is in fact taking place, Protective Services AND the police should be notified. The police must be mandated to work cooperatively with Protective Services in investigations. They must receive the proper training on how to do this.

Until such a program is put into place expect more horror stories from the Oregonian and elsewhere about the abuse and neglect of our most vulnerable citizens. It’s that simple.

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