An Ohio care facility for disabled children and young adults is under investigation by state authorities amid allegations of neglect and abuse.
“It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life—the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
Hubert H. Humphrey (1977)
Stories like this one are hard to hear. The thought of anyone abusing any child, let alone a young person with severe developmental disabilities, is disturbing, to say the least.
According to The Plain Dealer, the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities has determined the Rose-Mary Center in Euclid, Ohio was non-compliant with state codes, and has ordered the facility not to accept any new residents.
The suspension of the facility, run by Catholic Charities, comes on the heels of a scathing 65-page report by Disability Rights Ohio. The advocacy group visited the center earlier this year after receiving a complaint. Their report cites numerous health and safety concerns, including 375 Unusual Incident Reports (UIRs) in the past 6 months, 250 of which involved physical injury to the youth.
The report states, “The UIRs also reflect a disturbing trend of injuries of ‘unknown origin.’…these reports are concerning because the youth have very limited communication skills (many are non-verbal) and thus are unable to report whether the cause of their injuries is physical abuse.”
More serious allegations were included in the facility’s Major Unusual Incidents (MUIs), including reports of staff members slapping, kicking, and even hitting residents with belts. Despite the presence of numerous belts hanging throughout the facility, most of these physical abuse allegations were determined to be “unsubstantiated due to insufficient evidence.”
A staff member from the from the Department of Developmental Disabilities has been dispatched to Rose-Mary Center “to ensure the safety of the individuals we serve until a long-term plan that assures safety can be developed.”
Source: “State investigating Rose-Mary Center over care of residents with disabilities” by John Caniglia, The Plain Dealer, March 18, 2014.