State to close Providence group home after abuse allegations

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) announced Friday it will close a local group home after multiple reports of residents being abused.

According to a release from the department, BHDDH has taken action to close the College Park Apartments, a state-run group home for adults living with developmental disabilities on Mount Pleasant Avenue in Providence.

The College Park Apartments are slated to close on March 25, according to BHDDH.

The decision to close the group home comes after multiple reports of suspected abuse of residents and the death of one resident in February. According to the department, BHDDH led an internal investigation into the facility before passing the findings along to the Office of the Attorney General and the RI State Police for further review.

“We will not tolerate the mistreatment of patients anywhere in Rhode Island, including and especially inside group homes under our management,” said Maria Montanaro, director of BHDDH. “And we will not hesitate to close group homes where residents are at risk.”

According to a statement from Montanaro, the department has worked with the staff at College Park multiple times over the past year on correctional actions. After an investigation, officials determined the best course of action was to close the home and move residents to other facilities.

So far, five employees have been placed on paid administrative leave pending investigation. The rest of the staff at College Park will work under strict supervision of BHDDH to ensure all residents have a smooth transition into their new facilities.

Montanaro vowed to hold all individuals involved accountable for their actions.

In addition, Health and Human Services Secretary Elizabeth Roberts has directed the RI Department of Health to lead a series of investigations in collaboration with BHDDH into other group homes across the state.

“Our top priority is to provide safe, high-quality services for the residents in our care. Injuries and mistreatment at the College Park Apartments are unacceptable,” said Roberts. “Director Montanaro and her team are taking significant, responsible action, and they are laser-focused on ensuring a safe transition for every resident.”

This closing isn’t the first initiated by the department. In 2012, BDHHD revoked the license of the Blackstone Valley Youth and Family Collaborative because the facility failed to comply with certain required health and safety regulations.

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