Statewide task force set to meet on group home troubles
BATON ROUGE- Following a litany of complaints around the state, a task force has been created that will attempt to provide solutions for a problem that has cropped up due to a lack of regulations.
State Senator Regina Barrow is passionate about the cause and making sure those who are the most fragile in our communities have safe and clean places to live.
In May, the WBRZ Investigative Unit uncovered squalid conditions that residents of a group home were living in. Tonja Myles said her uncle was severely neglected. The coverage sparked raids by Adult Protective Services and the State Fire Marshal. Ultimately, the Prosperity House run by the Davenport family and operating on Greenwell Springs Road was closed down.
However, the WBRZ Investigative Unit found the operators were using another location a stone's throw from that house to operate again.
A dust-up occurred this week when Baton Rouge Police were contacted after residents were taken from the Greenwell Springs home.
Debra Kennedy said she was the payee for some of the residents there and after seeing the conditions of the house, Kennedy said she refused to pay the Davenports the social security money she was tasked with managing for the residents that lived there.
"I was not going to pay them," Kennedy said.
Instead, after paying the group home a visit, Kennedy said a number of residents asked to leave and go to the group home she runs. Kennedy took them with her, and that's when one of the prior operators of the Prosperity House, Eric Davenport, said he went to her house and took them back.
"I went into the building and saw the clients, and I asked them to come," Davenport said. "I did not touch anyone. So we got the clients in the car."
State Senator Regina Barrow likened what occurred this week to a kidnapping. She said what happened is utterly shocking, which is why the state task force will meet in two weeks to discuss possible changes.
"I want to know why it was able to happen, number one," Barrow said. "And two, we are going to look at how we can address that, because it doesn't need to happen to anyone."
The task force will meet at the capitol on August 17.