Assemblyman Titone: New regulations will better protect youths in state-run residential facilities

June 24, 2010

Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D-North Shore) announced the Assembly passed legislation he authored prohibiting the co-mingling of at-risk children and adolescents with adult patients in state-run residential facilities (A.5903). The measure requires the commissioner of mental health to draft regulations for age-appropriate separation of patients in housing facilities operated by the state Mental Health Department.

“Often, young patients in these facilities aren’t mature enough to handle a stressful or potentially dangerous situation should one arise,” Titone said. “With age-appropriate safeguards in place we can be sure that patients, both young and old, receive the quality treatment they deserve without disruption or distraction.”

The bipartisan legislation was crafted by Assemblyman Titone and Senator Andrew Lanza in response to recent testimony of Staten Island families who voiced explicit concerns about the lack of separation between adults and younger patients in state hospitals.

A local woman tearfully recalled a situation in which her at-risk teenage daughter was placed with adults at a facility during a mental-health crisis. During her time there, the young girl allegedly endured inappropriate behavior and advances from her 45-year-old male roommate.

“The well-being of these patients must be our top priority, and we need to send a message that these harmful conditions will not be tolerated,” Titone said. “The implementation of these new regulations will help ensure the health and safety of children, adolescents and adult patients alike.”