by William Van Ornum, Ph.D. on
For several years the New York Times has devoted investigative reporting to the issue of abuse in group homes for the developmentally disabled in New York State. This can be an extremely sensitive topic for parents, who read a story like this and wonder how widespread the problem really is.
The Times article implies that one reason that group-home employees are not held accountable is due to cumbersome due-process union rules. The article gives examples of employees whose employment was not terminated despite abusive actions toward residents.
Of course, it is important to have protection for workers in these settings: Residents can be extremely demanding and aggressive. (This may be one of the reasons why they are in this placement.) The system is not working when these due-process regulations come at the expense of safety to the residents.
It is noteworthy that this article focuses on group homes run by New York State—NOT NONPROFIT AGENCIES. This topic may be an entirely different story.