Man and his caretaker found dead at two Holiday Inns

A severely disabled man was found dead in a room at the Holiday Inn on Ariadne Road in Dedham on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Staff Photo by Faith Ninivaggi

A wheelchair-bound severely disabled man was found dead in a Dedham hotel room, and the woman who cared for him for much of his life apparently committed suicide in another hotel Monday, according to authorities who called the deaths related.Venture Community Services on Lantern Lane contacted Dedham police about 7 p.m. Monday to report that one of its employees, Mary E. MacKinnon, had failed to return with Jeffrey N. Goldstein, a 41-year-old resident with whom she had worked for many years, prosecutors said.


REV UP! Training August 28, 2018

REV UP! Register - Educate - Vote!

Come learn more about using your power to vote to make change!

Tuesday, August, 28, 2018
Worcester Public Library
3 Salem Square
Worcester, MA 01608

REV Up aims to increase the number of people who vote

Many supports, services and civil rights have been under attack

More people with disabilities and the Deaf/Hard of Hearing/ Late-Deafened/Deaf Blind communities need to vote

Make change – VOTE!

Contact Ellen Perkins at:
Voice: 508-502-7576
VP: 508-762-1164

ASL Interpreters and CART will be provided.
Please request other communication access

BEFORE August 7th.

Disability Connection June 2018

DLC Staff Attorney Caitlin Parton talks about the challenges facing persons who are deaf or hard of hearing in accessing services from medical providers, in public accommodations and in housing.

Rev Up! Conference a Big Success!

The federal and state election officials left us all with the feeling that they all are trying very hard to ensure that all polling locations are accessible to everyone.  In spite of their efforts, we are not at 100%, but they were knowledgeable on the issues, and seemed intent on continuing to fix barriers.

Going forward, we have two important and related goals – to register people with disabilities to vote, and to Get Out The Vote in November.  We also need to continue to be vigilant and ensure all events and venues are accessible to everyone.  Our emails will provide opportunities to become active as we determine how to best achieve these goals.

Thank you very much to the panel members who made the effort to attend, to update us on current efforts, and to listen to our concerns.

DLC Issues Public Report on the Efficacy of Service Delivery Reforms at Bridgewater State Hospital

Photo of Bridgewater State Hospital

May 18, 2018 – A  Report  to  the  President  of  the  Senate,  the  Speaker  of  the  House  of  Representatives, and the Chairs of the Joint Committee on Mental Health  Substance  Use  and  Recovery,  the  Joint  Committee  on  the  Judiciary,  the  Senate  Ways  and  Means  Committee,  and  the  House  Ways  and  Means  Committee,  submitted  pursuant  to  the  FY  2018  Budget  (Acts  of  2017,  Chapter 47, Item #8900-0001.)

Read the Report


DLC Finds Residential School Effectively Remedied Abuse & Neglect Concerns

Meadowridge Academy

DLC Finds Residential School in Swansea Effectively Remedied Abuse and Neglect Concerns

BOSTON, April 11, 2018 – The Disability Law Center (DLC) issues a Report today announcing the results of its abuse and neglect investigation at Meadowridge Academy (Meadowridge) in Swansea, Massachusetts. DLC substantiated abuse and neglect at Meadowridge, but also found it has comprehensively remedied the abuse and neglect concerns.

Meadowridge is a private, residential special education school, which is a part of the Justice Resource Institute (JRI) network, and approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Meadowridge serves as a placement for up to 36 students with significant mental health issues, behavioral difficulties and complex trauma histories.

During the winter of 2016, DLC received complaints regarding the treatment of students at Meadowridge. As part of its investigation, DLC reviewed records from Meadowridge, multiple state oversight agencies and local police. DLC also interviewed families, conducted two site visits and interviewed the Director of Meadowridge and JRI staff.

DLC’s investigation substantiated abuse and neglect against students with disabilities from 2014 through 2016. Specifically, in 2015, one residential supervisor abused a 17-year old student by engaging in a sexual relationship with her. Additionally, from January 2014 to October 2016, DLC found several staff members engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior with students. All employees involved in any misconduct were terminated or resigned. DLC also found Meadowridge neglected students by failing to provide a safe environment (e.g. 142 police incidents at Meadowridge from 2014-2016, including peer-on-peer assaults and runaways).

DLC also found Meadowridge has engaged in extensive corrective action measures to prevent further harm to students with disabilities. For example:

  • Meadowridge installed 58 cameras in all common areas that can be accessed remotely 24/7;
  • Windows were installed in all doors to increase visibility;
  • Unscheduled night-time site visits are now conducted on a regular basis;
  • Reporting mechanisms were changed so lower-level employees can report potential boundary violations about their supervisors to other administration;
  • Staff training changed from lecture-style model to practical application model, including full-day shadowing;

These changes have decreased runaways dramatically and eliminated staff boundary violations at Meadowridge. Due to the proactive and broad nature of Meadowridge’s remediation, DLC does not seek any additional remedies, but will continue to monitor the school for compliance.

“The misconduct at Meadowridge was egregious” says Marlene Sallo, DLC’s Executive Director. “However, we commend Meadowridge for assessing every aspect of their operation and engaging in thoughtful and effective corrective action at every level.”

Read the Report

Contact: Stanley J. Eichner, Litigation Director


From a wheelchair, Lowell man’s a force for accessibility

Dino Theodore
Dino Theodore of Lowell, paralyzed from the waist down after an accident in 1981, has worked with attorney Nicholas Guerrera to sue more than 50 companies for failing to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. They see themselves as activists, while some business owners see them as nuisances. SUN / TODD FEATHERS



Comment on New Massachusetts Draft Olmstead Plan

The Commonwealth developed its first Olmstead Plan in 2008 and has recently been in the process of tracking its progress and developing an updated plan – the Draft Massachusetts Olmstead Plan 2018.

The committee which is currently drafting the Commonwealth’s new Olmstead Plan, has provided a deadline of next Friday, April 13, 2018 for comments.

Here at DLC, we have been providing comments during the process. Attached you can find our latest memo outlining our concerns on all issues.

Read our Comments

If you would like to see much needed change in these areas as well, I encourage you to review the draft plan and submit comments by next week’s deadline of April 13, 2018. Additionally, if you can send this information to any of your contacts who might share our concerns, please feel free to do so.

Below are the links to where you can find the Draft Plan as well as the questions for comment.

Stakeholder engagement form
March 14, 2018 draft of the state’s Olmstead Plan

DLC to Receive Becker Trust Grant

Disability Law Center to Receive Becker Trust Grant for Innovation, for Supporting Advocacy of Community Integration in Day Habilitation Programs

DLC Attorney Hillary Dunn
DLC Attorney Hillary Dunn

The Becker Family Trust, in conjunction with the Becker Center for Advocacy at the Arc of Massachusetts, announced grant awards this morning, including a grant to the Disability Law Center for advocacy to bring community integration to day habilitation programs.   The work will last over a span of two years.

  • This project has three major goals:
  • To spark a statewide conversation on the current approach to day habilitation with policy makers and regulators, individuals and families and providers;
  • To identify opportunities for changes within the program, in collaboration with policy makers and regulators, including piloting new approaches to supporting individuals served in day habilitation.
  • To develop methods for providers to maximize opportunities for inclusion within the day habilitation framework.

DLC is grateful to the Becker Family Trust for its generous support of this innovative project.  We look forward to working with the Arc of Massachusetts, providers, state agencies, a technical assistance provider, families, individuals, and advocates on strategies for providing meaningful community participation for day habilitation participants.

MEDIA ADVISORY: For Immediate Release

DATE: March 30, 2018


Marlene Sallo

Executive Director

Disability Law Center

617 723-8455

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