The Globe is right to highlight the important role that accountability and transparency play in maintaining a safe environment for students at residential special education programs (“Abuse at facilities for autistic kids calls out for accountability,” Editorial, Oct. 3). Every aspect of employee screening, education, training, and oversight of team members in these environments is designed to reinforce absolute standards of care that foster safe environments. Instances of criminal abuse, no matter how rare, are unacceptable.
Residential special education programs welcome the opportunity to participate in a process that updates regulations, including greater public transparency related to the already vigorous self-reporting residential programs conduct. We also appreciate calls to continue initiatives that allow us to maintain a skilled employee base with improved wages. This is particularly important for such a critical hands-on field; our workforce continued operating throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, when other remote opportunities were readily available. Direct care and teaching staff need and deserve higher compensation, and we are grateful to the Healey administration and to the Legislature for the significant funding in this year’s budget.
Providers of these programs are entrusted with a special responsibility in caring for students with profound needs; we pledge to do everything possible to assure that they have the opportunity to thrive.
Massachusetts Association of Approved Special Education Schools