FSSA Defends Hurried Transfer Of YFN Disabled Clients

By Scott Sarvay
By Jeff Neumeyer
By Bob Johnston

October 14, 2010 Updated Oct 14, 2010 at 6:02 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Officials with Indiana's Family and Social Services Administration say they had little choice but to expedite the transfer of about 180 developmentally disabled clients following the abrupt closure of a Fort Wayne group home operation.

A Huntington County woman who witnessed the removal of four residents earlier this week thinks the state response was out of line.

Jennifer Jones cares for a “special needs” four-year old on a regular basis, which undoubtedly played some role in how she reacted to what happened across the street on Tuesday.

Employees with a different group home hustled to move four residents with developmental disabilities out of a residence near Roanoke, after the "Your Friends and Neighbors" Group Home, or YFN, shut down because FSSA cut off the company's Medicaid funding.

Jennifer Jones watched the process unfold, including the removal of all the men's belongings.

She thought the fast pace was over the top.

Jennifer Jones/Critical of Removal of Disabled Clients: " I think maybe they should have just slowly moved them into the new homes, maybe so they just understood it a little bit more, instead of just doing it within two hours. It was very abrupt, especially for the men that lived there, yeah, so I don't think that they understood what was going on."

Marcus Barlow/Family & Social Services Administration: " Our number one priority going into this was making sure that no one had to suffer from a drop or a gap in care, so we had to move, in a lot of instances, a lot quicker than we would have wanted to move."

FSSA had a little more than 12 hours notice of the shut down of Your Friends and Neighbors.

Jones says one of the caregivers from YFN was willing to stay with the clients in her neighborhood overnight Tuesday into Wednesday.

But that may not have been so in every case, and FSSA officials say you couldn't leave those care issues to chance, so it had to move and move fast.

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