Florida increases protections for disabled
Two new Florida laws strengthen abuse protections for disabled residents and give them more flexibility in choosing places to live. Gov. Charlie Crist signed the new laws on June 18 while attending the 12th annual Family Café, an event that focuses on providing information and resources to people with disabilities.
House Bill 1073 requires training in detecting and reporting client abuse, neglect, exploitation and abandonment for staff of licensed facilities that provide care for the disabled. The bill also includes provisions to protect children with disabilities, such as providing guidelines for the safe use of seclusion and restraint of students. Additionally, the bill requires school districts to collect information on incidents of restraint and seclusion, and to provide such information to parents and the Florida Department of Education.
Senate Bill 1166 modifies state restrictions that previously did not allow group homes for disabled people to be built within 1,000 feet of each other. The new law allows up to three such facilities to be built within the 1,000-foot perimeter. “The bills I signed today continue my deep commitment to increasing opportunities for persons with disabilities to live independently and achieve their dreams,” Crist said.
Read Crist’s entire statement.