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AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Georgia outsources care for the disabled to for-profit companies

Georgia and other states are increasingly relying on for-profit companies to care for people with developmental disabilities – sometimes with disastrous consequences.

An investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that inadequate staffing, poor training and incessant cost-cutting measures in for-profit group homes put residents at risk. In Georgia alone, 53 people died under the care of two of the nation’s biggest for-profit companies between 2014 and 2016, the Journal-Constitution found. At least 46 of the deaths were unexpected and may have been preventable, state reports suggest.

Georgia contracts with about 200 companies to care for disabled people, many of whom formerly lived in state psychiatric hospitals. The largest of the providers is ResCare Inc., based in Louisville, Kentucky. It operates in 42 states, where it serves 60,000 clients with 45,000 employees. Georgia paid the company more than $79 million during the 2016 fiscal year.

In 2012, Georgia outsourced the care of Christen Gordon, a profoundly disabled child who had spent most of her life in a nursing home unit at Central State Hospital in Milledgeville.

Fifteen months later, she was dead.

Read about what happened to Christen at

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