SPRINGFIELD — In response to an alleged beating death at a Charleston group home, the Illinois House approved legislation Wednesday to increase oversight of private institutions for developmentally disabled residents.
The measure, which now heads to the Senate for further debate, was triggered by the January death of 42-year-old Paul McCann at a Charleston group home.
“He was beaten to death by an employee of this home who was entrusted with his care because he took a cookie without permission,” said state Rep.Greg Harris, D-Chicago, who sponsored the legislation targeting the Charleston-based Graywood Foundation, which owned the home where McCann resided.
Since 2008, 43 investigations were launched by the state into Graywood Foundation’s facilities and two residents died, Harris said.
Two former Graywood employees face first-degree murder and other charges in connection with McCann’s death.
The legislation will require state review of facilities’ funding and licenses when disproportionate claims of abuse are present.
Also, it would require employee background checks every six months and allow the state to place independent monitors in facilities where there is evidence of systemic violations.
Families also would be able to review state documents related to the facilities, under the legislation.
“This was a tragic situation,” Harris said. “I hope that by passing these laws, we can prevent something like this from happening again.”
State Sen. Pam Althoff, R-McHenry, is sponsoring similar legislation in the Senate.
Harris said the legislation will be named “Paul’s Law” in its final form. The proposal was endorsed without opposition by the House.
The legislation is House Bill 653.