An Arizona state task force charged with finding ways to improve services and protections for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents, after the rape of a developmentally disabled woman in a state home, who later gave birth to a child, issued recommendations a year ago that were supposed to be implemented by the end of 2020, but a review by ProPublica and the Arizona Daily Star shows that only a third of the 30 recommendations have been fully enacted, with others months or years from completion, reports ProPublica.
Recommendations included the creation of a central registry to track abusers of children, vulnerable adults and people with developmental disabilities in a single database and training providers, family members and others on how to recognize signs of abuse among people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Both remain incomplete. But while advocates are frustrated by the slow pace of reform, the most important changes recommended by the task force require money; and state agencies — hampered by the demands of the pandemic — have not requested any budget increase for more staff or higher pay levels, and there is no sign the state Legislature is willing to boost funds. In addition, the pandemic, has resulted in task force members, including state officials, being forced to postpone meetings in order to deal with medical crises.