Local News

Influx Of Group Homes In Cumberland County Creates Problems

Posted August 6, 2001

— The state says Cumberland County has more than its share of group homes, which is a concern for a county facing budget problems.

Cumberland County has 91 group homes and private companies operate most of them in the county. Hundreds of their clients come from different counties, upsetting State Rep. Bill Hurley.

"The main concern is the taxpayers of Cumberland County end up paying for these children's education. We have enough problems in Cumberland County trying to educate our own," he says.

Hurley has introduced a bill in the

General Assembly

that would require the child's home county reimburse Cumberland for its education services.

"It's a fairness issue," Hurley says.

Cumberland County Sheriff Earl Butler also feels the county should have a similar approach when it deals with law enforcement.

With new group homes popping up every month, there is another concern.

"There really are not enough resources to go in and make sure everything a year from now is the same it is the day the facilities are licensed," says Debbie Jenkins of the Cumberland County Health Department.


State Division of Facility Services

says group homes should be inspected every year, but because of staffing issues, it is more like every two years. While Cumberland County Mental Health regulates its six homes, the agency worries there is little oversight of other facilities.

"Group home owners do get a bad rap," says Michael Singletary, who operates eight group homes in Cumberland County and hopes to open four more.

Singletary says he chooses to do business in Cumberland County because he can easily find rental property and employees.

"You find people that are more willing and people who go to school in health care fields," he says.

Rep. Hurley says he thinks there is less resistance to group homes in Cumberland County, and that is why so many are in Cumberland County. He points to a transient, military population and large number of older residents not being aware of who is moving in next door.


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