(The Center Square) – Arizona recently enacted a law that hopes to provide greater independent oversight of care for those living with developmental disabilities.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey recently signed SB 1542 in hopes of doing it.
The bill, sponsored by Senator Nancy Barto, R-Phoenix, will make a few changes. The bill saw near unanimous support in both legislative chambers.
The law will allow the installation of video cameras in common areas of group homes, nursing-supported group homes, and intermediate care facilities. It will also prevent contracted service providers of group homes and intermediate care facilities from preventing their installation if clients and their families agree to pay for the costs associated with these devices.
Barto said that she hopes the law will prevent abuse from happening in these types of facilities.
“We’ve received countless reports and testimony from families who have experienced horrific problems from service providers- especially within many group homes,” Barto said in a press release. “Matty, an 18-year-old who is severely autistic with the functionality of a 6-year-old, has been exposed to terrible traumas from staff, including those who were working while under the influence of drugs, verbal abuse and physical assaults against him that led to black eyes and head injuries, failure to provide medical care for his infections, even soaking him with a garden hose and shoving him in a closet as responses to his behaviors and agency oversight was not effectively addressing it.
“After his family purchased and installed a camera system on their own, they are now seeing the benefit of a much safer environment. We want to ensure the same for other families experiencing such appalling events.”
Barto added that the cameras would provide transparency into these facilities.
“Homes that are charged with protecting and supervising those with developmental disabilities need to meet specific standards,” Barto said. “By allowing video monitoring systems within these establishments, we will be able to give families peace of mind, accountability, transparency, and potentially stop life-threatening misconduct in its tracks.”
The law is set to take effect within the next three months.