What is the DPPC?
The Disabled Persons Protection Commission (“DPPC”) is the state agency whose mission is to protect adults with disabilities from the abusive acts or omissions of their caretakers through investigation, oversight, public awareness, and prevention.
What is the DPPC Abuser Registry?
In 2020, Massachusetts enacted a law requiring the DPPC to “establish and maintain a registry of care providers against whom the (DPPC) has made a substantiated finding of registrable abuse.” The DPPC Abuser Registry is effective July 31, 2021, and is intended to protect individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (“I/DD”) by barring care providers who have a substantiated finding of registrable abuse from working with other persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
What is a “substantiated finding of registrable abuse”?
A substantiated finding of registrable abuse is a finding by the DPPC, that a care provider abused a person with I/DD. For additional statutory definitions go to www.mass.gov/service-details/statutory-definitions.
Who is a care provider?
A care provider is an individual employed by DDS or employed in any program licensed, contracted, or funded by DDS to provide services and support to persons with I/DD between the ages of 18-59. Care providers can include volunteers, interns, work-study participants, or any other similar unpaid positions.
Who has access to the DPPC Abuser Registry?
The DPPC Abuser Registry is not a public registry. This information is not considered a “public record” for purposes of M.G.L. c. 66 and all information regarding care providers listed on the DPPC Abuser Registry is confidential. By law, the DPPC Abuser Registry can only be accessed by DDS or Employers who are funded by, contract with, or are licensed by DDS. Employers are required to create verified accounts to check whether care providers or prospective care providers are on the DPPC Abuser Registry.
Are victims of registrable abuse notified of registrable abuse cases or proceedings?
Yes. Victims (and their legal guardians) in substantiated cases of registrable abuse will be notified of investigations substantiating a care provider for registrable abuse and will receive instructions to track additional updates on the DPPC Abuser Registry Notification Lookup page.
How is a care provider added to the DPPC Abuser Registry?
The DPPC maintains a hotline (1-800-426-9009) for anyone to report abuse against adults with disabilities. Allegations that meet DPPC’s jurisdictional requirements are assigned to an investigator. If an investigator finds by a preponderance of evidence that the care provider committed registrable abuse, the care provider will be added to the DPPC Abuser Registry unless he or she files a Petition for Review. If a care provider files a Petition for Review, the care provider’s name will not be added to the DPPC Abuser Registry unless the substantiation of registrable abuse is upheld after the care provider’s appeal rights have been exhausted. Click here for additional information about what happens after you file a report of abuse www.mass.gov/info-details/what-happens-after-you-file-a-report-of-abuse-or-neglect and about the investigation process www.mass.gov/info-details/investigation-process.
What about victims with disabilities other than I/DD?
At this time, the law only permits DPPC to place care providers who work for DDS or who work for Employers who are funded by, contract with, or are licensed by DDS, onto the DPPC Abuser Registry. However, the long-term legislative goal is to expand the DPPC Abuser Registry to include caretakers for persons with all types of disabilities.
A case of abuse was substantiated against me in the past; am I listed on the DPPC Abuser Registry?
Only care providers in cases substantiated by DPPC on or after July 31, 2021 can be listed on the DPPC Abuser Registry.
What does it mean if I am listed on the DPPC Abuser Registry?
By law, DDS and Employers who are funded by, contract with, or are licensed by DDS to provide services or treatment to persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities, are prohibited from employing or contracting with you.
I got a notice telling me I was substantiated against for registrable abuse. Can I appeal?
Yes. If an allegation of registrable abuse was substantiated against you, you will receive information with specific instructions on how you can file a Petition for Review. Per DPPC’s regulations (118 CMR 14.02 (4) (a) 2), a Petition for Review must be filed within 10 business days of your receipt of the investigation report. To be considered filed within 10 business days, the Petition for Review must be received via email or postmarked by its due date. The due date for filing a Petition for Review is highlighted in the Notice — and the due date includes 3 business days for the mailing to get to you, as well as your 10 business days for responding. If you submit a timely Petition for Review, you will not be added to the DPPC Abuser Registry while a decision is being made on your Petition for Review.
What if I do not file a Petition for Review within 10 business days?
By law, if the DPPC does not receive a Petition for Review within the prescribed time, the DPPC will enter your name on the DPPC Abuser Registry.
I got a decision from the DPPC on my Petition for Review and disagree with it. Can I appeal?
Yes. If the Petition decision upholds the substantiation of registrable abuse, the DPPC will notify you of your right to appeal that decision with the Division of Administrative Law Appeals (“DALA”) and provide you specific instructions on how to do so. You must file your appeal with DALA within 13 business days after the DPPC mails the Petition decision to you.
Per DPPC’s regulations (118 CMR 14.03 (4)), if you file an appeal with DALA, the DPPC will not enter your name on the DPPC Abuser Registry unless and until DALA issues a final decision affirming the substantiation of registrable abuse. Click here to learn more about DALA at: www.mass.gov/orgs/division-of-administrative-law-appeals or the administrative appeals process at: www.mass.gov/administrative-appeals-process.
What if I don’t file an appeal with DALA after receiving a Petition decision from the DPPC?
If you do not seek further review by DALA, DPPC will enter your name on the DPPC Abuser Registry.
What information is listed on the DPPC Abuser Registry?
The DPPC Abuser Registry contains care providers’ first names, last names, middle initials, dates of birth, and last four digits of their Social Security numbers. This information is not visible on the DPPC Abuser Registry. Employers must check the Abuser Registry by submitting identifying information for a potential care provider. The Employer will receive a search result informing the Employer of whether the information entered resulted in a match to a care provider listed on the DPPC Abuser Registry. At no time will an Employer receive a list of care providers who appear on the DPPC Abuser Registry.
Do I need to consent to an Employer checking if I am on the DPPC Abuser registry?
Yes. The Employer will ask you to sign a consent form before checking your information against the DPPC Abuser Registry.
What if I don’t sign the consent form?
You cannot be hired or retained as an employee.
Can someone request to be removed from the DPPC Abuser Registry?
Yes. Five years after being placed on the DPPC Abuser Registry, or five years after the conclusion of any prior Petition for Removal from the DPPC Abuser Registry, you have the right to petition for removal from the DPPC Abuser Registry. More information about this process is found in DPPC’s regulations at 118 CMR 14.04 (PDF).
Links to related documents/agencies
Terms relevant to the DPPC Abuser Registry
See 118 CMR 2.02 for all definitions: www.mass.gov/law-library/118-cmr
- Care Provider: A Caretaker who is employed by, or contracts with, the Department or an Employer to provide services or supports to a Person with an Intellectual Disability or a Person with a Developmental Disability. Care Providers include all Caretakers in any program licensed, contracted, or funded by the Department; and any Caretaker who provides services on behalf of any program licensed, or funded by or contracted with the Department. A Care Provider shall be considered to be contracting with the Department or Employer irrespective of whether the Care Provider is receiving compensation for services, including volunteers, interns, work-study participants, or any other similar unpaid position.
- Employer: An entity that provides services or treatment to a Person with an Intellectual Disability or a Person with a Developmental Disability pursuant to: (i) a contract or agreement with the Department (of Developmental Services); (ii) funding administered by the Department (of Developmental Services); or (iii) a license issued pursuant to M.G.L. c. 19B, § 15 or 15A. An entity shall be considered an Employer if any part of its operations are funded or licensed by the Department or contracted with the Department.
- Registrable Abuse: An Act or Omission of a Care Provider that results in Serious Physical Injury or Serious Emotional Injury or constitutes Abuse Per Se of a Person with an Intellectual Disability or a Person with a Developmental Disability between the ages of 18 and 59. Registrable Abuse shall not include instances in which the Commission, after review of an objection under 118 CMR 14.02 (3), issues a decision pursuant to 118 CMR 14.02 (4) (b) 2, that upon weighing the conduct of the Care Provider and its outcome, the Commission determines that the incident was isolated and unlikely to reoccur and that the Care Provider is fit to provide services or supports to persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities.