- Associated Press - Friday, April 15, 2016

DECATUR, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Department of Mental Health decertified the owner of nine group homes in northern Alabama.

State officials delivered the notice Thursday to K&D; Group Home executive director Katie M. Smith that the state was immediately revoking her license, the Decatur Daily (https://bit.ly/1WvZt6E) reported. Smith was licensed to operate group homes in Decatur that serve patients with intellectual disabilities.

“I find it necessary to immediately revoke your department certification because the deficiencies cited pose a serious threat to the safety and welfare of the consumers,” Mental Health Commissioner James V. Perdue wrote in a letter dated Thursday to Smith.

Perdue said the state made visits on March 1 and March 31. Smith had 15 working days in which to appeal the decision, according to Perdue’s letter.

The letter did detail the deficiencies, but Sabrina Gibson, who serves as facility director, said there were some issues with paperwork during the two visits. She said a disgruntled employee went to the state, but no issues were related to the “health and welfare” of clients.

Smith could not be reached for comment.

Some parents said they need more information, and opted to take their children home.

“I think all the parents just want a little more information from the state,” said Maletha Pointer, who moved her 26-year-old autistic son to another group home. “My son had some behavior problems, but since he’s been with them (K&D;), he has gotten a lot better.”

Decatur police and state officials converged at her group homes looking for the 16 patients in Smith’s care.

Department of Mental Health spokesman Terry Mitchell said patients in the group homes will be relocated, but the state declined to say where. There are 84 homes for people with intellectual disabilities in Decatur.

The Department of Mental Health’s website does not list the 2016 visits, but it references inspections of Smith’s nine group homes on March 15, 2015. They all received scores of 84, which falls in the one-year certification category.

State officials have said the need for group homes like this in the Decatur area increased significantly after the state closed Lurleen B. Wallace Developmental Center on U.S. 31 in 2003.

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