State owes Allendale Association almost $2 million

  • Allendale Association has been under increased scrutiny in the weeks since Shaquan Allen's death March 30. The state hasn't covered its share of the cost for caring for some children with mental health conditions since July 1.

    Allendale Association has been under increased scrutiny in the weeks since Shaquan Allen's death March 30. The state hasn't covered its share of the cost for caring for some children with mental health conditions since July 1. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
By Mary Hansen
mhansen@dailyherald.com
Updated 4/15/2016 6:06 PM

Illinois owes about $1.9 million to the Allendale Association, which runs the Lake Villa facility where a 16-year-old died in March, a Department of Human Services spokeswoman said.

Both Allendale and state lawmakers say the lack of funding isn't related to Shaquan Allen's death, but payment delays during elected leaders' yearlong quarrel over a state budget can be difficult for providers.

 

"Our operations are lean but pretty well run. We are maintaining our staffing and our quality of care. But we're certainly concerned," said Allendale President Mary Shahbazian.

The bulk of the money owed is for individual care grants that cover the cost of full-time care for children with serious mental health conditions, Human Services spokeswoman Marianne Manko said.

Figures from the state comptroller's office show Allendale has received $296,654 from the state through the Board of Education and departments of Children and Family Services and Human Services since the start of the fiscal year July 1.

"(Allendale has) been a provider in good standing with us and they have many accreditations and licenses within the state and nationally as well," Manko said.

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Allen, from Chicago, asphyxiated after an Allendale employee placed him in a chokehold, authorities have said. Two employees, James Davis, 37, of Round Lake, and Justin Serak, 27, of Grafton, Wis., were arrested and charged in connection with Allen's death.

The facility has been under additional scrutiny in the weeks following Allen's death.

Specifically, officials are trying to determine whether the incident was "an anomaly or indicative of systemic problems," according to an independent report released by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services this week.

The report said "monitors observed all the units to be running smoothly, including the Bush cottage" where Allen had lived.

"The children/youth appeared stable and seemed to feel safe," the report reads. "Programming was relaxed on all the units; children/youth were either watching movies or participating in therapeutic recreation activities."

Both Republicans and Democrats have raised concerns about human services spending as the state drags through its 10th month without a budget, but an agreement between the two sides doesn't seem imminent.

"We can run this experiment for the next two years, and keep on defunding our providers. And have some of them shut down and have others lay people off," state Sen. Daniel Biss, an Evanston Democrat. "And we will definitely see over time an increase in individuals who need services but don't get them."

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