Fort Wayne Agency Steps Up To Take On Displaced Clients With Disabilities

By Scott Sarvay
By Ryan Elijah
By Eric Clabaugh
By John W. Davis
By Jeff Neumeyer

October 13, 2010 Updated Oct 13, 2010 at 5:48 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- Staff and clients of an embattled Fort Wayne group home company are trying to regain their balance, after the business shut down at midnight Tuesday with very little notice.

The care for residents of the "Your Friends and Neighbors" Group Home was transferred in a hurry.

The word started to filter out in the morning that the business was in trouble, and within hours the doors were shut.

About 120 disabled clients are now under the care of Anthony Wayne Services, headquartered here in Fort Wayne.

That's more than 80 percent of the clients affected.

Your Friends and Neighbors couldn't afford to pay its staff anymore, after the State of Indiana cut off Medicaid funding to the firm.

Scandal hit the group home after its former chief operating officer, Ernest Beal, was convicted of raiding clients' trust funds.

Anthony Wayne Services says it is busy trying to convince former employees of Your Friends and Neighbors to take jobs with AWS.

Bill Swiss/Anthony Wayne Services: " People may choose not to, for whatever reason, but those are positions that we'll need. It's not like we have three or four hundred extra staff waiting for assignments, so, their employment with us will be permanent."

Sue Campbell, who has power of attorney for a developmentally disabled client of Your Friends and Neighbors, says she didn’t like the fact clients were pushed to Anthony Wayne Services without having much choice in the matter.

Marcus Barlow from the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration says there was so little time, AWS was the stopgap measure the state turned to, but that family will have more input in long-term care decisions.

Recently two employees, who asked not to be named, told Indiana's NewsCenter that some fellow workers with Your Friends and Neighbors had their checks bounce in the most recent payroll period.

Back in July, INC focused on a possible Medicaid review for YFN's payment practices, it now appears that YFN may not have received the Medicaid payment they were counting on, which could be tied to the review.




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