It's the hardest thing you've ever had to do: place your loved one with a developmental disability in a group home. At the time it felt right, knowing that your loved one could get the 24/7 attention they need and deserve, but now you suspect abuse. You've noticed some strange bruises and your loved one has been acting out of character - feeling depressed and easily upset. What should you do now?
First and foremost, make a record of any abuse and neglect you suspect. Write down what day you noticed the abnormal marks or behavior and the location it took place. Be sure to include as much detail like where the mark was, what it looked like, and take a picture. Write down what behavior you noticed and why it was abnormal.
If you spoke to the staff about your concerns (which you definitely should), make sure you write down what they told you. Write down the names of the people who saw the neglect or abuse and be sure to get their address and phone number.
Even if it doesn't seem to warrant a doctor's visit, take your loved one to a doctor anyway. Ask the doctor to look at the injury and keep record of what the doctor writes down or tells you.
Lastly, make sure you keep copies of any records you send over or anything you get back from agencies. In everything, make sure you are as detailed as possible in your notes.
Although we recommend doing this before your loved one enters a group home, be sure to learn the laws about neglect and abuse. Arizona has many laws that protect people with DD and it's important you know what rights your loved one has. A complete list of the rights of people with developmental disabilities can be found in the DDD state regulations, A.A.C. R6-6-107, and in the Arizona state statute authorizing the Division of Developmental Disabilities, A.R.S. 36-551.01.
You've watched your loved one, you think they're being abused, and you've made detailed records of your concerns. You've read up on the laws above and now you're ready to report the neglect or abuse to an agency. Who do you contact? Find out what agencies you should contact by clicking here.
Care provided in a group home should be designated in a service plan, care plan or other document that describes the level of care needed. Often, the group home is unable to meet these care needs due to staffing problems, financial restraints or other management problems that can lead to safety issues. Knapp & Roberts are Arizona's best group home abuse and neglect lawyers in Arizona. We offer a free initial consultation to anyone suspecting that a loved one is being improperly treated or cared for. To schedule your free initial consultation to find out if you have a case, give us a call at 480-991-7677 today.