Despite $774,000 grant, TEAM still closing program, will try to find new staff

Despite $774,000 grant, TEAM still closing program, will try to find new staff

August 5th, 2011 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

The TEAM Centers Inc. is a private nonprofit organization with an office at 1000 Third St. in Chattanooga that handles evaluation and assessment of people with developmental disabilities.

Photo by Alex Washburn /Times Free Press.

The state's last-minute offer to reinstate a $774,000 grant for a program at Chattanooga's TEAM Centers has come too late to prevent the provider's planned Aug. 12 closure, the clinic's director says.

Too many employees have already left, said interim Executive Director Peter Charman, but he added that he will try to reassemble a new staff to run a program that provides services for developmentally and intellectually disabled children and adults.

"We will begin a recruiting effort immediately to look for new clinical staff," Charman said, reading from a statement. "Also, I'm talking to other agencies and clinical practices in the community to look for ways to deliver these important services to our patients."

Tennessee's Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities on July 13 decided against continuing the $774,000 grant following a "top to bottom review" of spending and programs by order of Gov. Bill Haslam.

The grant funded what one parent has called a "once-in-a-lifetime" clinical program for children and adults with autism, cerebral palsy, other developmental delays and intellectual disabilities.

Bowing to an outcry from parents of those being served and concerns voiced by local state legislators, Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Jim Henry told the Times Free Press Thursday that he would "probably" reinstate the grant for a year to give the TEAM Centers an opportunity to find alternative funding.

He later called Charman and made the offer official.

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