Talk about Catch-22.
FOILing information from government agencies is like pulling teeth. There are laws in the way of the core information I want and need – Mental Hygiene Law 33.13, Education Law 29.29, and of course dear ol’ HIPAA. I can write to request “statements of deficienies” and the course of corrected action taken, but will the statement refer to the nature of the kind of problem(s) I’m looking for (abuse/neglect)?
Not to mention that every page provided to me costs 25 cents, which could end up costing me a small fortune if I’m FOILing 1500 pages of “statements of deficiencies” to sift through.
I thought they could redact (black out or edit) identifying information, but that takes time, first of all, and the records keeper at OPWDD tells me she cannot disclose allegations/complaints/findings of misconduct or convictions – and would never be able to disclose cases of abuse and/or neglect, no matter what – because of those 3 laws I mentioned above.
I tried to research the laws but I’m like someone in 8th grade science class trying to study quantum physics. It all reads in legal-ese and makes no sense to me.
The records keeper was kind enough to send me a 5-page document called “Access to Mental Hygiene Records” but according to that information, I am not a “qualified person” (either the abused person or a family member of the abused) and thus would be denied access to records and documents pertaining to allegations and investigations into any abuse. Really?
I have to read the whole document more carefully, but to be honest I am getting better (and more) information from simply speaking to other parents who’ve had to make the decision Andy and I are facing. If that means I’m not intelligent enough because I have failed to acquire a law degree, so be it.
I’ll find out what I can, how I can.
So far Jonah’s been denied admission at both St. Colman’s (they sent me an e-mail explaining “we feel that Jonah needs a more consistant (sic) program and one that does not include the vacation periods that we have. Our thought is to move him to the most restrictive environment and then move him after a couple of years to an environment like our program.”) and Devereux (because of Jonah’s eye problems), so we’re on to looking at Springbrook, Tradewinds, and maybe a place I hadn’t heard of called The Center for Discovery – a mom told me her son is doing wonderfully there.
And I think I might re-read Heller’s Catch-22 again.
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one’s safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn’t, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn’t have to; but if he didn’t want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.