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Brutal Group Home Murder Leads to Illinois Legislation

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CBS St. Louis (con't)

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (IRN) - January 23, 2011 is a date that will forever haunt the McCann family. That was the day Paul McCann, 42, died due to injuries sustained in a severe beating.

It was determined workers at a Graywood Foundation group home in Charleston beat him, breaking 13 ribs and leaving bruises up and down his body.

This wasn’t the first instance of abuse at the home. In fact, there were 43 documented instances of abuse at the home and one other death until it closed earlier this year.

State lawmakers want to make sure that type of thing doesn’t happen ever again. State Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) is sponsoring H.B. 653, a measure he says would accomplish the following:

  1. Require the Department of Human Services to initiate reviews, and possible revocation, of funding and licensing at institutions where disproportionate claims of abuse or neglect occur.
  2. Require assignment of independent monitors or receivers to operate facilities and protect residents where systemic risks of abuse are identified.
  3. Require background checks of group home workers when first hired, and every six months.
  4. Require families to be able to review documented cases of abuse or neglect, get access to all licensing, inspection and quality assurance documentation, as well as reports of substantiated findings of abuse neglect or exploitation.
  5. Give families and residents instructions on how to report abuse.
  6. Give residents the patient’s bill of rights.

“The power is in your hands to make positive change,” Lois McCann, Paul’s mother, told the Illinois House Human Services Committee. “It would be comfort to our family that Paul’s death, however tragic, could be a catalyst for change, and maybe save lives through the passage of this law.”

The bill passed unanimously out of committee and now awaits debate on the House floor.

Copyright Illinois Radio Network

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