Wayne Township Neighborhood Council

Important Irvington Issues -Eastside Indy-

Posted in: Community Alliance Of The Far Eastside
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Tuesday, August 25th, 7pm-9pm. COMMUNITY DISCUSSION about the future of the Guardian Home,  hosted by John Barnes. Held in the gym at the GH.  Discussion will be held regarding public policy concerning public congregate care versus private.
Wednesday, August 26th, 6pm--? (don't know)   RE-USE COMMITTEE meets at the GH, dining room for the 3rd time. The panel will be discussing future use of the building.
I've attended both meetings of the Re-Use committee and there are various suggestions floating around to the panel and from the panel.  The Juvenile Justice System (panel member) is interested in locating a 2nd Juvenile Reception Center there, and a 24 bed emergency shelter facility is seeking licensure and will house low level juveniles.
There's more below if interested.
The Guardian Home was established in 1889 by the state legislature to provide care for abused, neglected and abandoned children.
Over the past few years (with James Payne's influence) the population has slowly changed from abused children, to those who have committed minor offenses (low level offenders, status offenders). At the last, only offenders were sent to the GH.
It was a matter of survival for the facility to accept offenders since abused children were no longer being sent, but it changed the original purpose of the home.
At the very last, Payne refused to send any children at all, abused or offenders.
The program officially closed on June 30th.  The director remains there fulltime and a part time support person, until the end of the year.
They are preparing to have the facility's licensing to go from the 68 emergency shelter bed it was, to a  24 emergency shelter bed facility. That would make it eligible for IV-E federal funds.
The director of the Marion County Department of Children Services (charged with care of abused and neglected children---and a Re-Use committee member) stated in the Re-Use committeee (for the GH) last week that DCS would send no abused or neglected children to to the "new" 24 bed facility--would not use it at all.  She directed her comments to Brant Ping (panel member) of the Juvenile Court and said those beds would belong to the Juvenile Court.
So we're heading for a 24 bed "mini" Guardian Home........which will only house low level and status juvenile offenders.
Brant Ping  (Re-Use panel member) stated that the Juvenile system is interested in locating a 2nd Reception Center at the Guardian Home. A reception center is used for processing low level offenders---not a residential program.  They'd be coming  and going all the time.
The Marion County City County Council approved a grant for $575K to be given to the Juvenile Court (in late May or early June) through the JAG funds, funneled through the Economic Stimulus Package, to add not one but two more Reception Centers.
If the Juvenile system needs 2 more Reception Centers, I wonder if the increased use will also mean a need for a 2nd Juvenile Detention center?  And if the Juvenile system will already have a 24 bed emergency care facility for low level offenders, and  a Juvenile Reception center, what a natural progression to place a 2nd Juvenile Detention Center in the GH.
Which is what a lot of people have suspected has been Payne's plan for years.
It is troubling that the GH has moved from it's stated purpose (driven again by Payne).
My husband and I are not in favor of the GH building to be used for anything related to the juvenile or adult justice system. 
Irvington has been granted a seat on the Re-Use committee (with co-representatives) but neither were seated at the panel table for the first 2 meetings.  It is my understanding that there will now be only one representative from Irvington and he will be in attendance at future meetings and sitting at the panel table.  I do not know what his beliefs are concerning the use of the building.  Naively I thought he would be representing the neighborhood, not just his beliefs.
We also believe that Irvington has done "its share" of having half-way houses, etc., in our neighborhood.  I'm not sure of the current number but it's over 10 and there's currently an alcohol abuse halfway house across from the GH.
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