State May Take Fort Wayne Group Home's Clients

By John W. Davis

August 31, 2010 Updated Aug 31, 2010 at 8:39 PM EST

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - The Your Friends & Neighbors group home could soon be shut down by the state of Indiana for "no cause".

We've learned Your Friends & Neighbors' contract has been terminated by the Indiana Family & Social Services Administration.

Your Friends & Neighbors CEO Justin Beal said his family-owned company signed a contract with the FSSA that said either party could end their relationship for no cause with 60 days notice.

Meanwhile, FSSA officials have exercised that right not once, but twice.

"I think the end of the era is here I think that sometimes these clients could be better served with another company," said Former Your Friends & Neighbors Employee Shannon Miller.

Your Friends & Neighbors recently appealed to a judge and won the right to keep their clients.

However, the FSSA said contractually they have the power to make the "decision of ultimate authority" and ruled their contract termination was valid.

Your Friends & Neighbors serves 200 clients and employs nearly 500 people.

However, some former workers told Indiana's NewsCenter the group home still owes them money.

"There's very little communication until something hits the news or hits the media, or something else, then they wanna you know contact somebody and say something but you gotta have better communication than that," said Miller while shaking her head in disapproval.

Your Friends & Neighbors officials said they plan on paying all former employees.

Meanwhile, former CEO Ernie Beal was sentenced to prison earlier this year for stealing clients' money.

Current CEO Justin Beal would not say if he thinks his father's conviction had anything to do with the contract termination.

However, Beal would not deny that fact either.

Your Friends & Neighbors is working with their legal counsel to appeal the decision.

Beal added he can not believe that state used their own employee to review the case.




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