Archive for Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Boys home temporarily suspends operations

Achievement Place waiting for funding

February 7, 2007


Board members of a well-known boys home in Lawrence are now playing the waiting and planning game.

A spokesman for Achievement Place for Boys Inc. announced this morning that the home - founded in 1967 - has temporarily suspended operations after the last resident successfully completed the program in December.

The Lawrence-based organization operates the eight-bed home for disabled and troubled teenagers at 1320 Haskell Ave. Board members have cited the change in the state's Medicaid-funding plan that restricted group-home stays to 140 days.

"First of all, we are waiting to see how the state's going to proceed. They may go back to a funding program that would allow us to operate on our own," said Dave Kingsley, a Lawrence-based researcher and Achievement Place board member. "We are also discussing partnerships with some very substantial organizations in U.S. that would partner with us."

State agencies enforced the 140-day limit last year after a federal ruling determined Kansas was out of compliance with its Medicaid plan. Most children in group homes have been steered into foster care.

Achievement Place board and former staff members have said the famous teaching-family model - which was started by Kansas University researchers there - requires longer than 140 days. Residents cannot get the treatment they need outside the group home, Kingsley said.

Bobick and Roxana Sarraf, the Lawrence couple employed by Achievement Place who lived at the home with the boys, stayed on as employees until the last resident left the home last month, Kingsley said.

Suspending operations was a gradual process as the number of residents whittled down from six last spring to one in December. The last resident completed the program to enter college, Kingsley said.

"That gives you an idea of how well that program works," he said.

Kingsley said the move to temporarily suspend operations did not mean the home would close completely.

"We still have assets. We can maintain the home. We have some liquid assets, and we own the property," Kingsley said.

Board members are working on expanding the board, developing a fund-development program and finding staff members to be trained. Kingsley expected it to take several months before possibly reopening.

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