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Easter Seals adding 60 to care

– About 60 adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities are moving to Fort Wayne after a northwest Indiana service provider failed to meet various state health and safety regulations, local officials announced Thursday.

Arc of Northwest Indiana closed all 22 of its group homes this week, sending a total of 90 adults to care providers as far away as Indianapolis. But most of the displaced residents were sent to Fort Wayne.

Easter Seals Arc of Northeast Indiana will provide 24-hour service and support to the individuals, who will live initially in student housing at IPFW.

Donna Elbrecht, Easter Seals Arc’s president and CEO, said her organization will work with the adults, their families and the state to find more permanent living arrangements. She’s grateful that IPFW can provide enough space to allow the group to remain together during the transition.

Easter Seals Arc annually serves 1,000 individuals and families challenged by disabilities. The nonprofit’s annual budget is $16.5 million.

One of the agency’s primary goals is to help people with disabilities become as independent as possible.

Arc of Northwest Indiana has cut 120 jobs with its group home closings. The agency’s board was unable to remedy deficiencies discovered by state officials a few weeks ago. Three group homes lost certification after that inspection.

Easter Seals Arc of Northeast Indiana, the local service provider, has scheduled a job fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The event will be in the organization’s lobby at 4919 Coldwater Road.

Full- and part-time positions are available for people to work with clients with special needs.

The job fair was scheduled before the influx of new clients, Elbrecht said. But the addition of 60 adults has bumped up the number of jobs the agency needs to fill quickly.

Requirements include a steady work history, high school transcript or GED, good communication skills, and a good driving record with at least three years of driving experience.

Successful candidates must have the ability to do moderate to heavy lifting and pass a drug screening.

For more information, call 456-4534.

sslater@jg.net

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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