Damar largely stops providing in-home caregivers for mentally challenged adults

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Damar Services has swiftly stopped providing in-home caregivers to mentally challenged adults, the company announced Friday.

The Indianapolis company, which has been providing in-home caregivers to roughly 150 mentally challenged adults, announced that another company – Compass Residential & Consulting – would begin providing services. Damar would still serve about 20 people in residential services.

A Damar spokeswoman denied that the dramatic move was in response to issues uncovered in a series of I-Team reports that exposed questionable care being provided by the caregivers and concerns from neighbors in the Decatur township area about lax supervision.

“No not at all,” said Jenny Peters, vice president of communications, told I-Team 8 in a phone interview Friday.

According to police run records obtained by I-Team 8 through an open records request, Indianapolis Metropolitan police have made nearly 50 runs to Damar and Damar-run residences in the past year for reports of assaults, missing persons investigations and mental health investigations.

Neighbors have complained that many of these vulnerable adults often leave their residential homes unsupervised, entering the homes of others.

Some neighbors, like Brandon Goodwin, have called the police a couple of times this year. Goodwin told I-Team 8 during an interview last month that he was concerned one of the mentally challenged adults was going to be shot if they were caught walking into the wrong home.

One man’s family was so concerned they told I-Team 8 they were going to move him. A U-Haul moving truck could be seen outside one Damar residence on Thursday, the same day neighbors say they received a letter letting them know that Damar would be pulling out of providing in-home care services.

The letter, shown to I-Team 8, did not mention the new company.

Neighbors like Lindsey Rudford were upset by the news.

“These are angry tears, I’m mad,” she said wiping her face. “It’s sad… what those caregivers did to that boy. … It’s upsetting.”

Another neighbor, Jeanne Sherry, told I-Team 8 she’s not sure how much change there will be, given the letter stated many of the caregivers would remain the same but would be working for the new company, Compass, rather than Damar.

When asked if she was questioning the quality of care being provided, Sherry said: “Oh absolutely, absolutely.”

Damar CEO and President Jim Dalton was not available for an interview, according to a spokeswoman.

But he did share this with us last week: “When you are caring for individuals with such disabilities… it doesn’t always go perfect.”

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