New Jersey education officials would be required to inspect schools attended by disabled children outside New Jersey every three years under a bill unanimously approved by an Assembly panel yesterday.
“Billy’s Law”, is named after Billy Albanese of Brooklyn, a 33-year-old man living with a traumatic brain injury who attended Bancroft Neurohealth in Haddonfield from 1992 to 1997. Left unsupervised in his wheelchair on several occasions, Albanese suffered three falls and required a total of 40 stitches on his face and head, according to his father, Vito Albanese.
Assemblyman William Payne (D-Essex County), one of the bill’s sponsors, told the Assemby Education Committee that, “New Jersey simply does not have sufficient beds for placement, so it is necessary to have a directory of those facilities around the country that are suitable for the placement of our citizens”.
The bill (A3625) would require the Department of Education:
– To keep and post online a registry of approved out-of-state schools and residential facilities serving children in special education programs;
– Inspect or hire someone to inspect out-of-state facilities prior to placing them on the register, with follow-up reinspections every three years;
– Notify officials in the Attorney General’s Office and the divisions of Developmental Disabilities, Mental Health Services, and Youth and Family Services that a facility is on the registry and give them 20 days to challenge or comment on the selection;
– Negotiate a process with other states to ensure that New Jersey is apprised of inspection violations and reports of mistreatment;
– Compile a report within two years analyzing the cost of developing more in-state special education residential programs.
You can read more about Billy’s Law here.