Raia Votes In Favor Of “Jonathan's Law”

Vital mental health legislation passes both houses
April 23, 2007

Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,C,I,WF-East Northport) today voted in favor of legislation that will ensure that parents and guardians have access to records pertaining to alleged mistreatment of children in residential care facilities. The legislation is named after 13-year-old Jonathan Carey, an autistic teen, who died in February as a result of alleged mistreatment by caregivers at a state-run facility in Niskayuna.

Jonathan's Law would:

  • Ensure that parents or guardians have access to records concerning alleged abuse or investigations of abuse when it concerns their children. Upon written request, records must be released within 21 days of the conclusion of an investigation;
  • Mandate telephone notification to the parent or guardian of a patient when an incident occurs involving that patient, and upon request, a written incident report must be provided to the parent or guardian;
  • Direct the Commission on Quality Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (CQCAPD) to prepare and disseminate a pamphlet on the right to access records relating to patient care and treatment;
  • Require that parents or guardians be notified when there is credible evidence of alleged abuse or mistreatment; and
  • Establish a Task Force on Mental Hygiene Records to study and make recommendations on additional legislation regarding access to patient records and reports.

“If there is evidence of mistreatment, parents must be notified. Furthermore, they deserve to have access to records that pertain to an investigation that involves their child. This is common-sense legislation that I am very pleased to see pass in both houses,” said Raia.

Following the alleged mistreatment of Jonathan Carey at the Anderson School in Staatsburg, New York, where his parents were denied access to records about their son, he was transferred to the state-run O.D. Heck Development Center in Niskayuna. Jonathan died in February while being taken out in a van by two Center staff members who police say used an improper restraint on him. The workers failed to seek medical attention for 90 minutes after the restraint.