Over the past 14 years, Alden Village North has repeatedly been in the news in regards to continued allegations of abuse and neglect to the children and young adults that reside at their facility. After a 2010 investigation, a Chicago Tribune article first brought the severe dismay of the facility to the attention of the public and the state vowed to have the facility shut down, but failed to do so due to a legal technicality. Since then, improvements have been made, but many argue that it is simply not enough. Twenty disability advocate groups joined together this past Monday to continue their fight to have the facility shut down for good.
Alden Village North is a facility located in Rogers Park that cares for children and young adults with severe physical and mental disabilities. The facility houses about 90 children and adults at a time with a wide range of medical problems. Over the years, Alden Village has had several owners and several name changes, but was recently acquired in 2008 by the Alden Nursing Home chain.
Chicago Tribune Investigation
When the Chicago Tribune first began its investigation into the troubles of Alden Village North, not only the public, but families of the residents were shocked to find the large amount of violations that the facility was being faced with. Between 2000 and 2010, the state had cited the facility for the deaths of 13 residents in cases that involved neglect or other violations. Many deaths were due to the lack of attention that the residence received and failure to hear emergency alarms in time to properly intervene. In a Tribune article that cited the details of the specific cited deaths, many families were shocked to discover that citations regarding the suspiciousness of the deaths of their loved ones were handed to the facility. Several families subsequently filed wrongful death lawsuits against the facility, most settling out of court.
The State Fails to Close the Doors
After the Tribune released its articles, the state announced plans to have the facility shut down for good. However, due to a legal technicality by the State Health Department, the facility has remained open. When the department filed the paperwork to revoke Alden Village’s operating license, they listed several wrongdoings, specifically the citations that were related to the suspicious deaths of the residents. The paperwork was later dismissed as Alden had already settled the cases that were referenced by not contesting the violations and agreeing to pay fines and make corrections in protocols to prevent these incidents from happening in the future. By trying to then revoke their operating license, the state would essentially be punishing the facility twice for the same incident.
The administrative Judge agreed with Alden that the states practice unfair and suggested that they withdraw their plan to close the home, which they subsequently did. In order to properly have their license revoked, the State Health Department would have had to file the paperwork while the cases were still open, instead of signing consent agreements with Alden regarding their citations.
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