Christie Signs Stephen Komninos Law

Oct 6, 2017

 

A measure signed into law by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie strengthens protections for people with developmental disabilities.

Stephen Komninos Law is named for a 22-year-old man who choked to death at a group home in 2007 when left unsupervised against medical orders.

The governor says the law requires more state oversight and consistent supervision of community-based residential programs.

"This new law will we hope prevent abuse, neglect, and exploitation of people with disabilities, establishing appropriately serious criminal penalties and mandating drug testing of each and every staff member."

The law requires New Jersey's Department of Human Services to conduct two unannounced visits every year at group homes to evaluate whether patients are at risk of   abuse.

Christie says the developmental centers also must notify parents within two hours if a patient is injured.

And they need to meet twice a year with parents.

"I'm proud to be a part of strengthening our commitment to protecting people with developmental disabilities while giving their families a greater say, and along with that a greater peace of mind for the well-being of their loved ones."

The law also requires drug testing for direct care staff members and increases penalties for failing to report abuse.