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Fort Wayne Developmental Center To Close Within Three Years
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 14, 2004

FORT WAYNE, INDIANA--The state of Indiana will move about 120 people with developmental disabilities into the community over the next three years as part of a plan to close Fort Wayne Developmental Center, and open a new psychiatric hospital.

Under a proposal approved this week, officials are to build the new $45 million Northeast Regional Hospital, which will house about 30 people with mental illnesses and about 90 people with developmental disabilities. The plan calls for the hospital to be open and operating by the end of 2007, the Journal Gazette reported.

Officials are currently looking for a 40-acre piece of property in or near Fort Wayne for the new hospital. The thirty or so buildings that occupy the FWDC campus will be torn down and all of its 100 acres will go to Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne and Ivy Tech College.

"Those buildings need to go away," said Susan Williams, executive director for the state's building commission, who noted that it would be too costly to renovate the buildings, many of which were built during the 1960s.

"We are moving away from the Fort Wayne State Developmental Center altogether," Williams said.

The institution currently houses fewer than 300 residents with developmental disabilities. Officials with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration told WANE-TV that they are working with families and other agencies to find new homes in the community around the state for those who will not be moving to the hospital.

Because the new facility will not require the 1,100 employees now working at FWDC, officials said the workforce will be gradually reduced over the three-year period, with no massive layoffs.

Fort Wayne Developmental Center has been under scrutiny for several years because of allegations of resident abuse and neglect.

The June 9, 2002 beating death of John Reed II, a 38-year-old resident at the facility, still has not been solved.

Reed, who was required to have 24-hour, one-on-one support, died of blunt-force trauma. Doctors said his injuries -- a torn pancreas, ruptured intestines, a punctured lung, broken ribs, and other internal injuries -- appeared more like those of an auto accident victim.

Earlier this year, disciplinary actions against five FWDC employees were dropped.

"Troubles In Indiana's Institutions" (Inclusion Daily Express Archives)

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