In response to the appointment of Cathy Ficker Terrill by the Department of Human Services to monitor Bellwether Behavioral Health, Assemblywoman Joann Downey issued the following statement:
“The reports of abuse and neglect of patients at Bellwether Behavioral Health’s facilities are deeply disturbing,” said Assemblywoman Downey, Chair of the Human Services Committee. “I am pleased to see Governor Murphy and the Department of Human Services have taken this step to respond to the lack of standards at Bellwether’s facilities. I am confident that under Ms. Ficker Terrill’s watch, these extreme acts of negligence will be an unfortunate thing of the past.”
On July 12, 2018, the State stopped referring individuals with disabilities to Bellwether Behavioral Health, New Jersey's largest group home operator for people with developmental disabilities and demanded "immediate correction of all concerns" involving safety and staffing shortages uncovered in 18 months of inspections.
Bellwether Behavioral Health runs dozens of group homes and day programs that serve nearly 500 people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, including some of the most clinically complex individuals in the state.
Ms. Ficker Terrill will be responsible for reviewing the private, for-profit company’s system of care, services, and supports, including staffing and accountability practices.
Ms. Ficker Terrill has served on the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, which advises the White House and federal Department of Health and Human Services on policies designed to improve life for residents with those challenges.