- Associated Press - Thursday, May 26, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A Sioux Falls nonprofit that provides care and housing to children and adults with special needs is at risk of losing its credentials after one client killed herself and another was allegedly abused.

LifeScape is on state probation for violating rules designed to protect the rights, safety and quality of life of the clients under its care, the Argus Leader (https://argusne.ws/1sAUhDh ) reported.

South Dakota’s Department of Human Services has outlined a number of improvements that LifeScape must make by Oct. 9 to avoid having its certification revoked.

Kimberly Marso, LifeScape’s chief operating officer, said the nonprofit strives “to ensure the very highest quality of care possible” and has “cooperated fully” with the state.

“DHS has accepted all the elements we have provided in response to those reviews,” Marso said in an email.

LifeScape formed two years ago through the merger of Children’s Care and South Dakota Achieve, providing care to people with disabilities as they transition from childhood to adulthood.

A client with suicidal tendencies took her own life in August 2015 despite requirements that she be closely monitored by staff. The death prompted a state investigation, which determined that LifeScape violated 15 administrative rules. State officials put the nonprofit on a yearlong probation and issued a plan of correction.

LifeScape finished the necessary steps requested by the state, but it was still being monitored in March when alleged abuse by a former employee prompted a second investigation. State officials issued a second plan of correction and expanded LifeScape’s probation.

The nonprofit takes in more than $20 million a year in program service revenue, according to tax documents.

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Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com

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