November 12, 2020 – Seekonk, MA – The Team Shawnie Advocacy Group, an over-watch children’s advocate agency based in Seekonk, MA, has been working vigorously alongside State Representative, Steven Howitt (R), Bristol County to implement the Shawnie Bill, a piece of legislation that would close loopholes in our Mental Health Care system in Massachusetts. Because of these loopholes, abuse of incapacitated children and adolescents occurs daily.
Shane and Cheryl Halajko, who live in Seekonk, have experienced this firsthand. Their child Shawnie is autistic. Their harrowing story of trying to find a safe and nurturing environment for their son to live his life without fear of abuse and mistreatment is mind blowing. Elected and appointed officials for years opposed them at almost every turn. Mired in bureaucracy and lack of knowledge, politicians pushed Shawnie into some very dangerous and life-threatening situations. Unfortunately, their experience is similar to thousands of other families throughout Massachusetts and the United States.
The Shawnie Bill addresses simple but effective changes to the law in Massachusetts. The bill will be presented early next year. We hope that our local radio stations and journalists will help support the cause and tell the story. This bill will make a real and measurable impact on the lives of so many families around us. Please help us get the word out.
State Representative, Steven Howitt (R), Bristol County, and Shane Halajko are available for interviews. They will discuss the bill and Shawnie’s experience in detail. This is a non-partisan issue, and we gratefully accept the help of all.
Resources that can be found on our website, teamshawniegroup.com include a copy of the bill in its entirety, a short YouTube explainer video, a link to a grassroots petition with over 8,000 signatures, and a six-part podcast series.
Board Member/Media Relations