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Indiana's Last State-Run Institution Scheduled To Close In 20 Months
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 25, 2005

FORT WAYNE, INDIANA--The Fort Wayne Developmental Center will close at the end of June 2007 after its 210 residents are moved -- most to homes in the community -- a state official announced Monday.

During a news conference, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration Secretary Mitch Roob said that the move to close the only state-run institution housing people with intellectual disabilities will save taxpayers at least half the cost of housing them.

Roob's announcement came just one week after former facility employee Michael G. Brown Jr. pleaded guilty to neglect in the beating death of 38-year-old resident John P. Reed II. In his plea agreement, Brown said he left Reed alone for several minutes one night in June 2002, even though he was supposed to closely supervise him. Brown said that when he returned to Reed's room, he found Reed on the floor gasping for breath. After Reed died a few days later, autopsy results confirmed that he had been violently beaten over a long period of time.

Last Wednesday the Indiana Department of Health revealed that facility staff had assaulted a female resident at least two times earlier this year. The Journal Gazette reported that state records show 16 allegations that staff abused and neglected the woman over a two-month period.

Roob's announcement also came just a few months after the closure of Muscatatuck State Developmental Center, which was shut down this summer and the grounds were transferred to the Indiana National Guard for a training site.

Roob told the Journal Gazette last week that he did not want the downsizing and closure process to last any longer than necessary. Several family members of Muscatatuck residents used the courts to effectively delay that facility's closure for years.

"You just have to end it," Roob said. "We need to give the date and get on with it."

An editorial in the Indianapolis Star stated: "It's an action that is long overdue, not only because of abuse and neglect but also because operating centralized institutions is extraordinarily expensive, pulling dollars away from more effective services."

Not all of the residents at the facility are expected to move into the community. A few are expected to be transferred to the state's three remaining psychiatric hospitals.

The state had announced last October that the facility would be closed by the end of 2007. Monday's announcement moves that timetable up by six months.

Related:
"State begins mental care site closure" (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette)
"State center resident abused twice" (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette)
Editorial: "Closing center will end era of abuse" (Indianapolis Star)
"Trouble with Indiana's Institutions" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

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