- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

CHICAGO (AP) - The Latest on the investigations into abuse and neglect at group homes for disabled residents:

6 p.m.

A Cook County judge has ordered a group home owner to turn over 18 residents with developmental and intellectual disabilities because they were in danger of “irreparable injury.”

The Chicago Tribune reports (https://trib.in/2gyemUN) that Judge Kathleen Pantle ordered Disability Services of Illinois Tuesday to turn the residents over to the Illinois Department of Human Services.

DHS officials complained the company had obstructed efforts to move the residents after the agency revoked the company’s license. That followed a Tribune investigation that found injuries and deaths linked to group homes.

Disability Services CEO Reuben Goodwin Sr. said Tuesday he would abide by the order. His network includes seven homes on Chicago’s south side and south suburbs. An eighth home closed last month.

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4:30 p.m.

The state Senate’s co-chairman of legislative hearings into abuse and neglect at state-financed group homes for disabled residents is seeking a bipartisan solution.

A joint House-Senate hearing took testimony in Chicago from Human Services Secretary James Dimas (DEE’-mahs), other state officials and non-government advocates.

Evanston Democratic Sen. Daniel Biss said in a statement afterward that he’s happy the Department of Human Services has already taken steps to correct problems. But Biss said that solutions would result from a partnership with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration and urged the Republican to end a two-yearlong budget stalemate with legislative Democrats to ensure money’s there to provide proper care.

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2 p.m.

Illinois social services regulators have written legislative leaders about changes made to keep disabled residents in group homes safe.

Human Services Secretary James Dimas (DEE’-mahs) says in a Dec. 7 letter that the agency has doubled the number of investigators assigned to allegations of abuse and neglect among clients who have developmental disabilities.

The state Senate’s Human Services Committee is hearing testimony Tuesday from the department after recent articles in the Chicago Tribune which detailed hundreds of cases in which abuse and neglect charges were investigated and cleared by group home employees. Inspector general’s reports are routinely sealed.

Dimas’ letter says the self-policing system has been eliminated and improved procedures help investigators spend more time reviewing cases.

Dimas says the state’s “most vulnerable residents are safer now.”

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