2 Years Have Passed Since An Incapacitated Woman Gave Birth To Baby At Phoenix Hacienda HealthCare. What Has Changed?

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Monday, January 4, 2021 - 8:25am
Updated: Monday, January 4, 2021 - 9:08am

Hacienda HealthCare facility
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Hacienda HealthCare facility in Phoenix.

Two years ago, a woman with intellectual and developmental disabilities was raped and later gave birth to a baby at her long-term care facility. Her alleged rapist was her nurse.

The news sparked outrage, but what changes have been made to keep people with intellectual and developmental disabilities safe? 

Not long after the Abuse and Neglect Prevention Task Force published its report with 30 recommendations to strengthen protections for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the coronavirus pandemic hit. 

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"There have been a few policy changes based on the governor's task force, which has been positive," said Erica McFadden, executive director of the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council. "But for, you know, somebody who lives in a group home, they may not feel any of that. We still have our members who don't know where to call if they're being abused. They don’t even know what it looks like in some cases. Like what is appropriate and what isn’t appropriate."

McFadden says another concern is just how isolating this time has been for people with disabilities. She says some in the intellectual and developmental disabilities community haven't even seen their state appointed support coordinator since March, and some of these individuals are non-verbal.