SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Laura Fine has passed legislation to ensure reports of abuse or neglect in state-operated developmental centers are thoroughly investigated and addressed. The legislation intends to address allegations of abuse at Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center in Anna, Illinois, where certain staff members have been accused and charged with multiple accounts of abuse to patients.
“Vulnerable residents living in state-run facilities are entitled to the best care possible and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Fine (D-Glenview). “This initiative will ensure people who take advantage of people in our care will face consequences for their actions.”
Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center serves patients struggling with mental and behavioral health concerns and/or developmental disabilities. Some employees of Choate have been charged with and found guilty of physically or emotionally abusing patients, as well as obstructing official probes and lying to investigators about wrongdoing.
Senate Bill 855 would create repercussions for employees who do not report incidents of abuse under the Code of Silence. People who do not report cases of abuse or who actively obstructed investigative reports would be added to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s health care workers registry, letting future employers know their role in silencing survivors of abuse at their job. These additions will hold bad actors accountable and discourage employees from obstructing investigations.
“It is the responsibility of the state to protect our most vulnerable from abuse and neglect,” said Fine. “This legislation will be an important tool to deter further atrocities from taking place.”
Senate Bill 855 passed the Senate on Wednesday, March 29. It now goes to the House for further discussion.
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March 31, 2023 at 05:30PM