The Special Response Unit (SRU) conducts civil investigations of abuse, neglect and exploitation involving the developmentally disabled residing or participating in community programs. The SRU is comprised of the Chief, three (3) regional supervisors, fifteen (15) investigators and two (2) support staff.
SRU Mission...The primary mission of the unit is to ensure that all allegations and suspicions of abuse, neglect, and exploitation are properly investigated and the safety and well being of service recipients is maintained.
State Statute guides SRU...Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:1-12.1, the SRU is charged by the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services with the responsibility to conduct investigations of unusual incidents.
N.J.S.A. 30:6D-17 stipulates “The Department shall ensure that every developmentally disabled person in a community residential facility receives adequate medical and dental care, a nutritionally adequate diet, a full daily program of structured activities, and those other services which are necessary to maximize the developmental potential of the developmentally disabled person in a manner least restrictive of personal liberty. Every developmentally disabled person shall have adequate protection from abuse and a wholesome environment in which to live”.
The unit scope extends to community-based programs licensed by DHS’ Developmental Disabilities Licensing or contracted or regulated by the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD).
Investigations...The SRU completes approximately five hundred (500) investigations per year, in accordance with the sixty (60) day time frame as established by the Department.
The unit investigates the more serious cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation and collaborates with law enforcement when there is evidence of criminal activity.
The unit also serves a quality assurance role as the review and analysis of clinical and social service records often results in documented concerns relating to the quality of life and the well-being of individuals served.
The findings of the SRU investigations are forwarded to the Department’s Office of Licensing and the Division of Developmental Disabilities’ Office of Quality Management for appropriate follow-up action.
Cooperation and CollaborationThe SRU has built alliances and ongoing partnerships with law enforcement agencies throughout New Jersey.
The SRU is an active participant in the "Partners in Justice" coalition, a national initiative coordinated by The Arc of New Jersey. This alliance is a collaboration of criminal justice, civil agencies and advocates working to enhance equal justice for people with developmental disabilities.
The SRU continues to conduct collaborative investigations with law enforcement and this ongoing partnership has resulted in criminal convictions of perpetrators of abuse and exploitation.