Relates to an order to gain access to persons believed to be in need of protective services for adults; requires official to document factors considered to determine whether or not to apply for an order to gain access.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the social services law, in relation to an order to gain access to persons believed to be in need of protective services for adults
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To require that when social service officials are denied access to persons they have reasonable cause to believe are in need of protective services for adults they must assess, no later than twenty-four hours, whether it is appropriate to apply for a court order to gain access.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section one amends subdivision 1 of section 473-c of the social services law to require that a social services official who is refused access shall assess, in consultation with a supervisor, whether it is appropriate to apply for an order to gain access to such person. The assessment must me made no later than twenty-four hours after the investigator is refused access. This section further provides that the determination of whether or not to apply for an order to gain access and the reasons therefore shall be documented in the investigation file.
Section two provides the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Current law provides that a social services official may apply for a court order to gain access to an individual if they have reasonable cause to believe that person is in need of protective services for adults and they have been refused access to that individual. The current system leaves the decision whether to apply for a court order completely up the discretion of the individual social services worker. This legislation will require the worker to consult his or her supervisor when access is refused and assess whether it is appropriate to apply for an order. This will ensure that when the facts of the case indicate an order to gain access to the individual will be sought.
This bill also provides that the determination of whether to apply for an order and the reasons therefore are documented in the case file. This ensures that a thoughtful and thorough assessment is completed, and the decision whether to apply for an order is supported by the facts of the case. This will also help to identify any patterns in the case, and ensure that a complete history of the individual is maintained. Neglecting to apply for and obtain an order after access was refused was one factor in the death of Laura Cummings, a 23 year-old developmentally disabled adult who was murdered by her caretakers in January of 2010. Had an order been obtained, and a thorough investigation conducted, this tragedy could have possibly been avoided.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This is a new bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediate.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5471 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 25, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sen. MAZIARZ -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Aging AN ACT to amend the social services law, in relation to an order to gain access to persons believed to be in need of protective services for adults THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. The opening paragraph of subdivision 1 of section 473-c of the social services law, as added by chapter 413 of the laws of 1986, is amended to read as follows: A social services official may apply to the supreme court or county court for an order to gain access to a person to assess whether such person is in need of protective services for adults in accordance with the provisions of section four hundred seventy-three of this article when such official, having reasonable cause to believe that such person may be in need of protective services, is refused access by such person or another individual. A SOCIAL SERVICES OFFICIAL WHO IS REFUSED ACCESS SHALL ASSESS, IN CONSULTATION WITH A PERSON IN A SUPERVISORY ROLE, WHETHER OR NOT IT IS APPROPRIATE TO APPLY FOR AN ORDER TO GAIN ACCESS TO SUCH PERSON. SUCH ASSESSMENT MUST BE MADE AS SOON AS NECESSARY UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, BUT NO LATER THAN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AFTER THE INVESTIGAT- ING OFFICIAL IS REFUSED ACCESS. THE DETERMINATION OF WHETHER OR NOT TO APPLY FOR AN ORDER TO GAIN ACCESS AND THE REASONS THEREFOR SHALL BE DOCUMENTED IN THE INVESTIGATION FILE. Such application FOR AN ORDER TO GAIN ACCESS shall state, insofar as the facts can be ascertained with reasonable diligence: S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD08593-10-1