The Jonathan Carey Reform Act Petition sign now

I heard Michael Carey speak up for the needed reforms below powerfully and eloquently at a recent Assembly public hearing this April-- for the need for NYS to move well beyond Jonathan's law to pro-actively make sure the abuses Jonathan withstood are prevented in the future; a number of autistic students in the audience at the public hearing were struck with emotion and moved to speak up publicly as a result of Michael's speech that day (note as well-- see and below for much more on Jonathan's story; it will rip your heart out).

Full disclosure-- for nine years in the 80's and 90's I myself did award-winning work with developmentally disabled kids and adults in various nonprofit agencies here in the Hudson Valley; I know all too well from what I witnessed firsthand working at those places about the dire need for such legislation for regular, mandatory, unannounced inspections of such facilities to be passed without further delay.

The fact is that unannounced inspections have been recognized across the U.S. and all over the world as an effective way to ensure quality care and prevent abuse in a wide variety of institutions-- from nursing homes to hospitals to day care centers to adult facilities to group homes to child care facilities to homes for the mentally ill (see links below on this)-- so why can't NYS mandate three annual unannounced inspections of all facilities, schools, and institutions with autistic, developmentally disabled, or mentally ill children or adults?

If you agree with that concept along with the others below that are part of the proposed Jonathan Carey Reform Act, sign on to this petition, and call Gov. Paterson and state legislators toll-free at (877) 255-9417. Michael and Lisa are right-- "one really can make a difference"-- but only if you care enough to give a damn and sign.

Folks, believe me when I tell you we sorely need these reforms to protect the most vulnerable among us now right here in Dutchess County (as well as across NYS); my only regret is my not advocating for this more strongly decades ago when I began working with developmentally disabled kids here and realized need for this then.

Jonathan's parents want us to help them to get NYS to move well beyond Jonathan's Law to enact this reform (contact them directly at 518-475-9100)-- sign on to this petition and pass it along to all you know.

Joel Tyner
County Legislator
324 Browns Pond Road
Staatsburg, NY 12580
[email protected]
(845) 876-2488

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From Michael Carey himself re: below:

"These reforms are separate bills we are looking to get passed as soon as possible for the protection of all New York State's children and adults with disabilities. They are all basic common-sense things that should have been done long ago, but the safety and best care of persons with disabilities is most certainly not the top priority in most facilities or our State government yet.. Unfortunately, money and the concerns of litigation and purposely concealing wrongful acts and even crimes against the disabled is currently top priority.

This is very disturbing, but true for the most part. The constitutional rights of the disabled are clearlybeing violated on a regular basis and in an extremely large way. We desperately need a civil rights movement on behalf of the disabled so that they truly receive equal rights and protection by law as all other New York State residents as promised in our Constitution."

The Jonathan Carey Reform Act:

A package of new laws and amendments to existing laws to bring about further necessary changes, for the safety of all children and adults with disabilities in New York State.

-- Three mandatory unannounced annual inspections of all private and state facilities with an open door policy to completely independent individual monitors or not for profits that have no ties to the state and receive no state funding or grants (strictly volunteer). This will bring about real transparency and accountability.

[Note-- thanks to Linda Kondor and Rev. Gail Burger of Clinton, Joann Mead of Kingston, Edwin Gonzalez of Beacon, Doris Soroko of Red Hook, AnnMarie Crouch of Monroe, Emily Kelsey and Lisa Priore of Cornwall, Eileen Azevedo of Campbell Hall, Kathleen Piazza of Warwick, Jeanette Shanahan of Pine Island, and Elizabeth Bagnole of Highland Mills for already signing on to my petition (in memory of Jonathan Carey)-- to make sure that there are at least three mandatory, unannounced inspections annually of all facilities, schools, and institutions in the state with autistic, developmentally disabled, or mentally ill children or adults.]

-- Restructuring of the Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities. This agency must be a strong independent agency that gets back to its original purpose-truly advocating for the disabled in a very open and transparent way, which holds other agencies accountable with proper investigating and public transparency. There used to be another independent agency called Office of Advocate, this needs to be reinstated.

-- Abuse hotline - All calls of alleged physical or sexual abuse need to be immediately dispatched to local law enforcement, as per Mental Hygiene law, and our New York State Constitution. The mandatory posting of abuse hotline information and phone numbers to local law enforcement, as well as train all staff in all areas of mandatory reporting-just like minimum wage posting.

-- Mandatory background checks of all employees in both, private, and state facilities, schools, or residential homes for the disabled that include all past employment (ie., violations, disciplinary notices or actions, suspensions, reasons for any previous loss of job, etc.), abuse registry and criminal records checks.

-- Statewide regulation cap of overtime of caregivers to 60 hours per 7 day work week in all private and state facilities. Maximum of one double shift per 7 day work week. Also to crack down on overtime fraud.

-- The CQC is mandated by law to print a new and completely accurate pamphlet in simple laymen's terms regarding information on Jonathan's Law. This pamphlet must fully comply with Jonathan's Law. The pamphlet must state Jonathan's Law on the cover along with the title, How to access records of incidents of harm and records of abuse and neglect investigations. The CQC is responsible for the direct and proper distribution to all families of the disabled statewide-not through provider agencies within 3 months of signing of the bill.

-- Amend S.8534-A Social Service Standard of Abuse Law (Social Services Law 412) to include all New Yorkers with disabilities no matter what age. And to add unlawful restraints and seclusion per penal law Section 135 to what is legally recognized abuse. (See attached New York State Law Section 135- Unlawful imprisonment).

-- Increase the penalty of endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person (Penal Law Section 260.25) to a felony offense. Currently, Aggravated Cruelty to a Companion Pet is a Felony, creating a stronger deterrent for people to not abuse an animal, then the disabled.

-- Amend S.8551 in regard to withholding food or meals from the disabled, and include a criminal penalty for those that purposefully disregard this law or plan such neglectful and abusive acts, or carry out this type of abuse. Misdemeanor offense for 3 or less incidents of abuse. Felony offense for 3 or more incidents of abuse.

-- Complete whistleblower protection for all people within both the private and state facilities of the mental health care system that report maltreatment, negligence, or abuse or the cover up of such activities.

-- Surveillance cameras mandatory statewide in all vehicles that transport the disabled by June 30, 2010, and in all public areas and hallways of residential group homes and facilities by June 30, 2011. Many school districts have installed them on their buses already for not nearly as vulnerable of a group of people. This is vital for the safety and protection of all persons with disabilities, as well as protection for caregivers wrongfully accused.

-- Mandatory training of all caregivers and staff in both state and private care facilities to report all incidents of suspected abuse and crimes as per current New York State laws.

-- Interagency sharing of all abuse and neglect investigation records between all state agencies involved in oversight, regulation, or certification.

-- All state and private provider agencies first give each family of a disabled person the option to receive all necessary caregiver services in home before any option for any residential services or placement. This will much better serve the disabled and their families, as well as be much better and cheaper for the state of New York. Much more funding must be allocated for in home caregiver services. This will create more jobs and be much safer. Families of the disabled can hire people they know and trust personally.

-- Victims of alleged physical or sexual abuse must be mandated to be medically examined by a physician or hospital from outside the either private or state system at all facilities.

-- Mandatory psychological testing and drug testing at time of hiring. There also must be random drug testing after hiring, again for the safety of those in care first, minimally twice a year unannounced.

-- There must be stronger and firmer internal disciplinary action within the system. Serious problems warrant more serious consequences. Immediate removal of serious offenses or crimes. Much less union involvement in this area.

-- Mandatory funding for all severely disabled that need 24-7 care.


1. Immediate changes to the pamphlet regarding information on Jonathan's Law, to fully comply with Jonathan's Law. Proper distribution to all families of the disabled.

2. Work to better serve the disabled as well as the state of New York by offering much more funding allocated for in home caregiver services.

3. Mandatory funding for all severely disabled that need 24-7 care.

4. Unfreeze critical funds needed for the more the more severely disabled that need 24-7 care.

[also-- go to this link and scroll down below for crucial info from NYS Inspector General:]

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Welcome to the Jonathan Carey Foundation.

Lisa and I, the parents of Jonathan, would first like to thank everyone for your love, your prayers, and your encouragement throughout this extremely difficult time, and for all your support as we were fighting for Jonathans Law. Our hearts are broken and the pain of missing Jonathan is excruciating at times, but we know that Jonathan is happy and safe with our Lord Jesus in Heaven for all eternity, which helps us tremendously.

Right now we must move forward. We are compelled to help other vulnerable children, and to help prevent other children from suffering abuse and neglect like Jonathan suffered. We would like you know a little about our son Jonathan. Jonathan was diagnosed mentally retarded before he was two years old and then diagnosed autistic at six years old. Jonathans life was difficult in many ways because of the afflictions he suffered, as well as not being able to speak and communicate properly. You can only imagine the frustration, if it were you. Lisa and I placed Jonathan in the Anderson School in Staatsburg, New York, in January of 2003, so he could learn and prosper more as well as be toilet trained. We were told that the school had 100\% success with toilet training, and highly structured teaching in their school, and that the carry over in the residential settings was excellent.

Jonathan was making some significant gains, but in the Fall of 2004, things took a horrible turn for the worse. We received a call from the Director of the school saying that our son was in a crisis. Afterward, we found out that the school was withholding meals on a daily basis from Jonathan for behavior modification, or intense programming in their own words, whenever Jonathan did not have his shirt or clothing on.

Jonathan was struggling with a compulsive problem of keeping his shirt on, and this is how the school planned to program our son, without our knowledge or consent, or the knowledge or consent of a Human Rights Committee. This unbelievable abusive and neglectful plan was then carried out by numerous staff for over five weeks. Jonathan was also secluded for extended periods of time in his bedroom, at times naked lying in his own urine, missing many days of school, without our knowledge. During this time, Jonathan sustained dozens of bruises over much of his body, which was not reported properly by the school to both New York State agencies, OMRDD or CQC, as required for investigation. How can such things happen? How can people do such inhumane things? It is still hard for Lisa and I to understand how people can do such things. After a four week investigation was completed by OMRDD regarding these abuses of our son Jonathan, all of the records were then immediately sealed by the State of New York and none of the individuals involved were held accountable by law. The State of New York continued to withhold all of these records from us until the amendment to Jonathans Law was signed by Governor Spitzer on July 18, 2007.

Now under Jonathans Law, parents and legal guardians are able to obtain valuable investigative records and incident reports regarding their children to help insure their safety. Under the amendment to Jonathans Law, parents and legal guardians can obtain investigative records and incident reports dated from January of 2003 until the current date, by requesting their records in writing, by no later than December 31, 2007.

After removing Jonathan from the Anderson School , Jonathan struggled incredibly as a result of the abuse he went through. Jonathan was then diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result. After doing our best to care for Jonathan at home, without getting much assistance from OMRDD, despite pleading for help, we had to place Jonathan in another facility. We could not care for Jonathan alone. At this time Jonathan went into OD Heck, in Niskayuna, New York, which is a State run residential facility. A year and a half later, on February 16, 2007, while away on a trip, Lisa and I got the most horrible news any parent could ever get. Last night Jonathan stopped breathing and he could not be revived. Lisa and I both buckled to the sidewalk under the grief of the news coming over the payphone. We were in St. Thomas trying to get some respite from lifes difficulties, to get the worst news imaginable. We later received, a call saying that two men have been arrested and charged for improperly restraining Jonathan to death. Lisa and I were a couple of thousand miles away, and our precious first born son Jonathan was killed, we are told. If it were not for our faith in Jesus, there is no way we could have survived it all. By His amazing grace, as well as the amazing outpouring of love through so many people, we are doing OK. Hurting, yes, but we know there are many things we must do. We are compelled to help prevent this from happening to other children or their families. This is why Lisa and I have established the Jonathan Carey Foundation in Jonathans name, to do everything possible to stop such injustices, and help vulnerable children.

Most vulnerable children cannot speak or defend themselves and desperately need our help, meaning each and every one of us, in whatever way we can. Lisa and I have gained much insight through all that we have gone through, and have a responsibility to use that insight and knowledge to help bring about necessary changes and fight for what is right. Our hope and our prayer is that these changes will affect the lives of thousands of precious children and their families. We must continue to raise awareness of the issues facing those living in residential care facilities and schools, and their families.

We are also compelled to raise awareness and to encourage people to get involved in rescuing orphaned and abandoned children. We have been involved with a ministry called Hearts of the Father Outreach for many years now. I have seen first hand several young children, without parents, poor and destitute, sleeping on sidewalks in plastic corn meal sacks in need of a home, love, and their basic needs met, such as regular meals, clothing, and medical attention. These children can be rescued and literally saved for very little cost, if people first care, and second have an avenue to help. Our desire is to help point the way to other existing organizations and ministries that are doing such wonderful work. The Jonathan Carey Foundation is all about helping vulnerable children in any way possible, but it is going to take a team effort. There are millions of vulnerable children, in all sorts of dire need. Will you help? If everyone helps in whatever way they can, a tremendous number of precious childrens lives will be turned around, and I believe forever.

We are closing our family business named Solo Auto Sales, located at 90 Delaware Avenue in Delmar , New York , and are converting the use of the property into the office for The Jonathan Carey Foundation. We are now currently able to accept charitable contributions, which are tax deductible. We are going to need your help, as well as the help of our entire community, to accomplish and bring about the necessary changes needed to insure the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable children. Thank you for caring, and thank you for considering supporting The Jonathan Carey Foundation. If you would like to help financially, please click on the donate tab for the information necessary. Thank you.

Michael Carey

Keep checking for news and events.

Thank you to all those that supported the 2008 walk for vulnerable children.

One - Really can make a Difference

The Jonathan Carey Foundation
90 Delaware Ave.
Delmar, NY 12054

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Unannounced inspections are a well-recognized way to ensure quality care and prevent abuse.

Fact: NYS passed legislation eight years ago for at least one annual unannounced inspection of nursing homes.

Fact: The U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services points out the value of unannounced inspections for child care facilities.

Fact: "The NYS Dept. of Health annually conducts 575 unannounced surveys of adult homes in NYS" [G. Pataki:]

Fact: Carl McCall spoke out nine years on the need for real inspections of adult care facilities.

Fact: Unannounced inspections already in Scotland/England of adult homes and day care centers.

Fact: NYTimes reported in 1993 on need for unannounced inspections of homes for developmentally disabled.

Op-ed piece on need for regular unannounced inspections of group homes for mentally ill:

Click on these six links for much, much more re: need for unannounced inspections: ;;;;;

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News from New York State Inspector General

For more information contact: Kate Gurnett, 518-474-1010

Inspector General's Report Sparks Changes in Residential Care for Disabled Children

ALBANY, NY (06/11/2008; 1000)(readMedia)-- State Inspector General Joseph Fisch today issued a report that makes 20 recommendations for change in state government and criticizes two agencies for neglecting their duties.

The 244-page report examines the response of New York State agencies to allegations of abuse of Jonathan Carey in 2004. It reveals deficiencies in state oversight of Jonathans care, particularly by the New York State Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (CQC). It finds fault with both CQC and the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) for providing misleading or inadequate information to the Governors office and Jonathan Careys parents. And it recommends a review of the states Social Services Law related to abuse in institutional settings.

In response, CQC and OMRDD have vowed to improve their approaches to overseeing the care of children with disabilities.

Jonathan Carey was a disabled pre-teen who resided at the Anderson School in Dutchess County from 2003 to 2004. He died in 2007 while in the care of the O.D. Heck Developmental Center in Schenectady County. Two workers were convicted in his death.

"It is difficult to contemplate any tragedy more difficult for parents to endure than the death of a child, Inspector General Joseph Fisch said. Such pain is more intolerable when the child, as was the case with Jonathan Carey, suffered at the hands of professionals who were entrusted with Jonathans care. Jonathan was autistic and developmentally disabled. Such children require more attention, more love, more understanding and more kindness than other youngsters. Parents, and indeed society, have every right to expect and demand such effort in their behalf. They deserve no less.

The Inspector Generals probe is related to state agency oversight of Jonathan Careys treatment at the Anderson School several years prior to his death. Jonathans parents alleged that his alleged abuse was improperly investigated by CQC, OMRDD and other government entities. The Inspector Generals office reviewed more than 25,000 pages of documents and conducted over 75 interviews.

The report concludes that:

CQC conducted a shoddy child abuse investigation, failing to fully address allegations that Jonathan was neglected, inadequately fed and left to lie naked on a urine-soaked bed.
CQC issued a report for a second, separate review of the Anderson Schools comprehensive treatment of Jonathan without actually examining his care.

CQC misrepresented the extent of its work to the state Senate, the Governor, the Inspector General and Michael and Lisa Carey, Jonathans parents.

In its investigation of OMRDD, the Inspector General found that the agency generally conducted an adequate review and gave follow-up assistance to the Anderson School to correct problems. However, the report also concluded that:

OMRDD failed to fully address potential violations by the Anderson School related to the neglect and maltreatment of Jonathan Carey.

Safeguards in place for children at state-operated facilities do not apply to disabled residents in private care. These safeguards pertain to restraint, seclusion and restrictive behavioral therapies.

OMRDD was deficient in its communications with the Careys and provided inaccurate or misleading information to the Governor.

Fisch noted that on June 2, 2008, Governor David A. Paterson proposed legislation to improve the safety of children in residential programs operated or licensed by the state. The bill defines certain behaviors - such as kicking, biting, or withholding food - as acts of abuse, even if they do not result in an injury to the child. It also expands the application of New Yorks Statewide Central Register to children in residential programs for the treatment of alcohol or substance abuse.

Fisch praised the Governors proposal, saying: It is an important extension of protections for our most vulnerable children. The Governors proposed legislative reforms and our recommendations give better support and guidelines to the thousands of dedicated caregivers who work tirelessly with children across New York State.

Meanwhile, CQCs new Chief Operating Officer Jane G. Lynch, appointed last month, said she has assigned a high priority to improving CQCs oversight. She informed the Inspector General that CQC will:

1. Revise protocols and train employees to ensure that all CQC investigations are actually completed.

2. Establish independent supervisory oversight for each investigation.

3. Conduct adequate site visits.

4. Investigate all State Central Register child abuse allegations that CQC receives, including a broader review of the care of other children in the same program.

In a letter to the Inspector General, Lynch praised the investigation, saying, I welcome the opportunity to analyze [CQC] operations and take steps to improve the quality of the oversight and advocacy which it provides New Yorkers with disabilities, their families, advocates and service providers.

OMRDD Commissioner Diana Jones Ritter said the Inspector Generals report indicates that there are still opportunities to improve our approach to investigations and our quality reviews, such as sharing information with families. In addition, Jones Ritter said that OMRDD will:

1. Fully address all potential violations uncovered by an investigation.

2. Conduct a full review of safeguards currently afforded disabled residents in private care to see if they are adequate.

We are heartened by the positive response to our report by the agencies and entities involved, Inspector General Fisch said. And we hope that these institutional reforms and those incorporated in the Governors proposed legislation will prevent such tragedies in the future. The case of Jonathan Carey teaches us that our disabled children deserve a better system.

[see much more re: NYS Inspector General's report on this at these two links:;]

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From ...

Jonathan Careys father asks Paterson for OMRDD commissioners resignation

Legislative Gazette Staff Writer
Mon, May 18, 2009

Michael Carey, father of the namesake of Jonathans Law, is asking Gov. David A. Paterson to call for the resignation of the commissioner of the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.

Im calling on Gov. Paterson to remove individuals involved in wrongdoing, said Carey. But also immediately work with me to protect all of New Yorks disabled children and adults, at least by calling for more unannounced inspections of these facilities.

Citing what he calls an ongoing failure to ensure the safety of all disabled children and adults in the state, Carey said the removal of Commissioner Diana Jones Ritter, who was appointed to the position in February 2007, is crucial. Carey is going public with his cause after meetings with the governor and Ritter proved fruitless, he said.

Last year, an aide at the O.D. Heck residential facility for the developmentally disabled in Niskayuna, Schenectady County, aide was charged with allegedly punching an autistic, blind woman under her care after the woman spilled the aides salad at a McDonalds. In March of this year, an OMRDD group home in Wells, Hamilton County caught fire and four disabled people were killed because, Carey said, there were too few staff to evacuate the individuals. On May 9, a caregiver was indicted for allegedly sexually assaulting a mentally retarded 54-year-old woman in December 2006 at a Hudson Falls, Washington County group home. After the incident occurred, the employee was moved to another facility and promoted to a supervisor position.

In February 2007, Careys son was killed at the hands of two OMRDD employees. Since the time of his sons death, nine people have been arrested at that facility alone, Carey said. The scope of alleged and proven abuse is widespread in the OMRDD system, says Carey.

Jonathans Law, passed after his death, ensures parents and guardians have access to records pertaining to the abuse or investigations into abuse of their children...

Carey says the commissioner must take responsibility for past incidents. These are not unfortunate accidents, and people in leadership must be held accountable, he said, asserting more thorough background checks could have helped avoid placing unqualified people in charge of the disabled.

Carey argues OMRDD Commissioner Ritter failed to make reforms to the system, as she has promised. He alleges she ignored safety measures including proper group home and facility inspections. He also asserts she did not ensure her employees report accusations of physical or sexual abuse directly to the police. Carey said there needs to be proper background checks and supervision of staff, safe overtime restrictions, random drug testing of employees and proper staffing levels at facilities.

In addition to Ritter, Carey also is calling for the removal of Capital District Developmental Disabilities Service Organizations Director David Slingerland and Deputy Director Kate Bishop. Slingerland was the director at O.D. Heck at the time of Jonathans death.

Carey alleges Bishop was aware of a previous history of abuse occurring at the Anderson School in Dutchess County where Jonathan was first abused. An interoffice memo between OMRDD and the Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities that Carey obtained reveals Bishops knowledge of the ongoing abuses at Anderson. The April 1, 2004 memo discusses the development of a strategy to assist Anderson to improve their services. Carey says he believes no improvements were made because two years later his son was abused at the school.

Albany Law School and Disability Advocates Inc. recently filed suit against OMRDD and Ritter for alleged denial of access to the clinical records of individuals with developmental disabilities residing in OMRDD facilities, citing rights of access to the clinical records under federal law, Carey said.

Bridgit Burke, director of Albany Law Schools Civil Rights and Disability Law Clinic, a petitioner in the suit, said The agency refused to turn the records over, and we are an important watchdog for ensuring abuse and neglect doesnt occur in facilities operated by OMRDD. Currently, we are responding to a motion to dismiss; the lawsuit was filed in January, and its fairly typical for the state to respond by initiating a call to dismiss, but were optimistic that they will not be successful.

Though he is taking sole responsibility in calling for the removal of Ritter, Slingerland and Bishop, Carey says he has a lot of support and is far from alone in his fight. We see the problems and these problems need to be fixed, he said. This scope of abuse needs to be stopped. I believe it can be changed and it must change. People in positions of authority need to do what they can to be responsible leaders.

To make his point, Carey referenced a 1987 report by the New York state Commission on Quality of Care called, Abusing the Unprotected, which recommended OMRDD develop policies and regulations to protect vulnerable individuals from harm and opposed treatment practices such as withholding food or sleep. But that is precisely what Carey said happened to his son at the Anderson School.

In June 2008, state Inspector General Joseph Fisch, issued a 244-page report that criticized both OMRDD and CQC for conducting a shoddy child abuse investigation of Jonathan Careys abuses at the Anderson School and failing to fully address violations by the school related to the neglect and maltreatment of Jonathan. Fisch made a series of recommendations for imporvments in his report, and CQC and OMRDD vowed to improve their approaches to overseeing the care of children with disabilities.

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From ...


People of the Year

Heroic Parents Sons tragedy inspired Carey family to fight for a whole community
By Caitlin Nitz / Illustration by Steve Ponzo

Every family within the autistic spectrum faces its share of heartache, hardship and sometimes even tragedy. For Michael and Lisa Carey, it is not the tragedies they have endured that define who they are. It was not the death of their autistic son Jonathan that propelled them into the media or earned them Spectrums title of People of the Year. Rather, it is their unwavering dedication to their beliefs that earns them such recognition.

In February of 2007, 13-year-old Jonathan Carey died in the back of his schools van after an improper restraint. His aids, Edwin Tirado and Nadeem Mall continued running errands for 90 minutes with Jonathans lifeless body in the back of the car before returning to the state-run O.D. Heck Development Center.

Even before Jonathans death, his parents Michael and Lisa Carey were working with New York State Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg to enact change.
Jonathans Law, which was signed by Governor Eliot Spitzer in May, now grants families of children and adults with mental disabilities greater access to internal treatment records. The Careys were fighting for such legislation after Jonathan was mistreated at the Anderson School in Dutchess County, N.Y., in 2004. His records, which documented continued neglect, were withheld from the family by the state.

In one year, the Carey family has attended their sons funeral, helped pass state legislation in his name, started a foundation in his honor and attended the court proceedings of the two men responsible for his death.

To Michael Smith, the northeast regional director of the Foundation for Autism Information and Research (FAIR) and also a father of an autistic child in the Albany area, the Careys are heroes. Most parents would have caved under all the heartache and pressure. The Careys channeled this into a mission to stop abuse, he says.
At the end of 2007, the Carey family has established itself as one of New York States leading advocates for the rights of the developmentally disabled. With the passage of Jonathans Law and Edwin Tirado and Nadeem Mall in prison, it would be easy to say their work is finished. It would be tempting for them to move on with their lives, but that is no longer an option. They have closed their family-owned car dealership in Delmar, N.Y., to turn it into the headquarters of the Jonathan Carey Foundation and to become full-time advocates.

Lisa and I believe strongly that we are called by the Lord to be a part of rescuing and saving the lives of vulnerable children, says Michael Carey in an interview in October. For over 10 years, the Careys have been involved in a ministry called Hearts of the Father Outreach, which cares for abandoned, abused and orphaned children in different parts of the world. Lisa and Michael Carey have traveled to Mexico and different parts of Africa to visit orphanages and raise awareness on how churches especially can help kids in need.

Michael and Lisa, throughout their hardships, have relied heavily upon their faith for strength. They were quick to forgive the two men responsible for their childs death, and visions and dreams of Jonathan in heaven provide them peace. The media and public observed the grace which the Careys displayed by forgiving the murderers, comments Pastor Dave Gericke of the Delmar Full Gospel Church where the Careys worship.

In spite of their forgiveness, Michael and Lisa Carey still harbor great emotion and sadness over the death of their son. At times, this emotion has exceeded the comfort zone of some local politicians and the media. At the sentencing of Edwin Tirado in December, the Careys gave what one local news station called a remarkable set of victim impact speeches in court. To State Supreme Court Justice Dan Lamont, however, the Careys went far, far beyond, what the state deems appropriate.

The judge refused to allow the family to play a 13-minute video about their son at the sentencing hearing. Along with admonishing Tirado, the Careys went on to criticize his defense lawyer, Brian Donohue. Michael Carey told Tirado, sound and good legal counsel would have been: do the right thing, acknowledge your guilt, accept your punishment and to apologize to our family for what you have done.
Lisa Carey said, as a mother, I plead with all my heart, that the court sentence Ed Tirado to the maximum term for mercilessly crushing the life out of my son, and for his hideously callous actions after he realized that Jonathan was no longer breathing. Tirado was indeed sentenced to the maximum penalty of 5 to 15 years for manslaughter.

With the killer of the child behind bars, the Careys are now armed with their sons records from the Anderson School that they obtained after the passage of Jonathans Law.

The records reveal the systematic refusal of Jonathans mealsan illegal behavioral modification tactic they suspected after witnessing their sons dramatic weight loss and regression. The family is suing the Anderson School for approximately $6 million but also believes that criminal charges must now be brought against those responsible for Jonathans mistreatment and the cover-up of his abuse. Righteousness and change must come forth as a result of what has happened to Jonathan, believes Michael Carey.

In this quest for righteousness, the Careys are seemingly unafraid of alienating their supporters with their zeal. This past November, Michael and Lisa began visiting local district attorneys offices, hoping to bring charges against officials in the Anderson School abuse at the states Commission on Quality Care (CQC), which monitors developmental facilities, and the regulatory Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD).

Like the Careys, Michael Smith believes these officials need to be brought to justice. The New York Commission on Quality Care is required to report cases of abuse to the state police but failed to do so. These people belong in jail cells or at minimum deserve to be fired, he says.

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  • 17 December 201550. Sunita S
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  • 19 September 201548. Lourdes C
    I agree
  • 06 July 201547. Shalini Webb
  • 24 June 201546. Maria Pazs
    Its time that we protect the disabled.
  • 07 June 201545. Carolne M
    keep spreading the word
  • 06 June 201544. Kris M
    I am in favor of the Jonathan Carey Reform Act Petition
  • 19 May 201543. Abigail Cc
    This is a simple step that would provide needed protections to vulnerable individuals.
  • 30 April 201542. Alexandra Diaz
    I believe that unannounced visits are vital to the safety and proper care of the disabled or anyone who is vulnerable.
  • 24 April 201541. Larissa A
    This is one case that, no matter wether this petition is signed or not, this Reform Act "HAS" to pass. I don't know Jonathan, but my thoughts & prayers are with him and his family. Much Love!
  • 21 March 201540. Leslie K
    I support the Jonathan Carey Reform Act
  • 14 January 201539. Maria Elinas
    It's a pitty that this has been going on for so long.
  • 28 December 201438. Larissa A
    This is one case that, no matter wether this petition is signed or not, this Reform Act "HAS" to pass. I don't know Jonathan, but my thoughts & prayers are with him and his family. Much Love!
  • 09 December 201437. Linda P
    i agree
  • 21 November 201436. Nancy D
    Please pass this bill
  • 02 October 201435. Irene R
    please let this bill get passed. it is essential for the well being of our loved ones and members of our community.
  • 30 August 201434. Sandy M
    Thank you for your efforts to protect our vulnerable children. Unannounced inspections should be mandatory, with special focus on the Anderson Center.
  • 23 July 201433. Emilie B
    I agree with the reform act
  • 07 July 201432. Beatriz I
    I agree with the reform.
  • 15 May 201431. Christopher Ps
    Good work
  • 05 May 201430. Jose Miguelb
    i agree
  • 02 May 201429. Margarita P
    Unannounced inspections are a great way to improve health care on disable patiens, that are unable to complain.
  • 24 April 201428. Harold L
    everyone should see this
  • 05 April 201427. Sueli Akemit
  • 22 March 201426. Gina N
    [email protected] /* */
  • 02 March 201425. Fernando Oe
    I have read The Jonathan Carey Reform Act Petition
  • 27 December 201324. Sarah B

browse all the signatures


Rosa HardingBy:
Petition target:
New York State residents


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