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Senate Budget Includes Funds for Annual Safety Forum in Honor of Slain Caseworker

Peabody Sen. Fred Berry has filed a budget amendment to pay for an annual symposium held by the Department of Mental Health to discuss safety standards.

Not only did state Sen. Fred Berry nominate Stephanie Moulton's mother he also filed a budget amendment to create an annual forum in Moulton's name for state mental health workers to discuss safety on the job.

Berry's office announced Wednesday that the amendment adds $100,000 to the Senate's version of the state budget for Fiscal 2013 to establish the Stephanie Moulton Safety Symposium, which will be held annually by the Department of Mental Health for its employees to talk about topics such as best safety practices, policies and risk management.

Moulton, a mental health counselor from Peabody, was allegedly murdered on the job on Jan. 20, 2011 by a male patient Deshawn Chappell. Chappell, a 27-year-old Chelsea resident with a history of schizophrenia and violent behavior, is awaiting a trial to begin in Suffolk Superior Court.

Moulton's mother was honored Wednesday as an "Unsung Heroine" in the Bay State primarily for , which is now circulating through the legislature. It was Berry, a longtime advocate for human service workers and who came alongside Flynn in the wake of the tragedy, who filed the bill in the Senate last fall.

Stephanie's Law would require employees at residential facilities licensed by the Department of Mental Health to be equipped with panic buttons. Berry's office says the bill received a favorable report from the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee and is now being reviewed by the Health Care Financing Committee.

“The legislation is complex and I understand why it needs to be thoroughly vetted. In the meantime I remain committed to developing a plan to ensure the best safety practices for our frontline workers in the field of mental health,” said Berry in statement. “I think this symposium is a great next step in our efforts. I am honored to work with Kim Flynn and the rest of Stephanie’s family as they turn this terrible tragedy into an opportunity to educate and protect other mental health workers.”

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