Guardians explain why their confidence is not shaken after Restore Care allegations

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — A crowd came to the Restore Care hearing in Madison County court Monday, where the state Department of Mental Health explained allegations of abuse and neglect against the group home provider.

“We desperately want our loved ones to stay [at Restore Care,]” explained Ed Sparks, whose son lives in one of their group homes. “That’s the point. It’s why we’re all here.”

Before a packed courtroom the Alabama Department of Mental Health argued Monday that the local provider of residential services had 140 reported instances of abuse and neglect since October involving its mentally disabled residents. Attorney Tommy Klinner told Circuit Judge Donna Pate this afternoon that Toney-based Restore Care should not be allowed to stop state workers from removing about 35 residents from its 14 group homes.

But Dr. Celia Lloyd-Turney, who has operated Restore Care since 2001, strongly denied the state’s claims during testimony.

So did guardians who testified before the court.

They claimed some of the incidents the state is calling abuse or neglect, weren’t as they seemed.

After the hearing, the judge took this under advisement and adjourned to review the case. Guardians we spoke with afterward said, their faith in Restore Care is not shaken, and they are still confident about its ability to serve their loved ones.

“I believe that in any group home situation, you’re going to have incidents,” said Sparks. “To me that’s just normal course of action with people that have medical problems. Things will turn up on their body and may be reported by others that don’t know the story, and it’s perceived as abuse. When in fact, it’s not.”

He added that guardians still feel left in limbo, waiting to see what decertification means and whether or not their loved ones will be moved out of the group homes.

“At this point we will honor the court and we will wait on [the judge’s] decision,” said Tommy Klinner, the state Department of Mental Health attorney about that possibility.

As of 9:40 PM Monday the judge had still not handed down a decision.