published Friday, August 5th, 2011

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

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.
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.
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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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about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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Selah said...

This doesn't make sense. I wouldn't allow this as Governor. But it is going to get worse. Governor Haslam can you handle Tennessee governership? Why are you in Afghanstan? Checking your oil profits?

August 5, 2011 at 11:34 p.m.
Liniog said...

Autism is the fastest growing childhood disease. One out of every 110 children (both sexes) and one out of every 70 boys born in the US will be diagnosed with autism. Cutting funding to an organization that diagnoses and treats the debilitating symptoms of autism is not only the wrong thing to do, but an ignorant and short-sighted choice. Just because you aren't treating children and adults with autism does not mean that they disappear. Intervention, particularly early intervention, can significantly reduce the debilitating effects of autism, thus reducing the need for intense care in school and throughout adulthood.

August 6, 2011 at 2:08 a.m.
JJester said...

Someone should have discussed the funding options with current TEAM director before beginning campaign for extended funding. The director had his own agenda from the onset weeks ago. He was going to pocket the first monies as severance pay and now refuses this money. Need to establish a new charter with a leader concerned for these children NOW. The money will be made available with the right people in charge.

August 6, 2011 at 8:19 a.m.
sandyonsignal said...

It was discussed with Charmin and he encouraged us to help get the funding back. I spoke to a board member this morning and she said "they are not closing". They are hiring. Interesting. One thing is for sure they need a new director. This is so corrupt. It makes me sick.

August 6, 2011 at 9:18 a.m.
mountainlaurel said...

Payingattention said: "I cannot imagine a 50-year-old center that serves disabled children going down the tubes on my watch. Peter Charman is not a go-getter for sure."

All things considered, I don't think your critique of this interim director is really fair – dirty politics can be very discouraging. To date, I’ve been very impressed with Chattanooga’s TEAM Center, and I know enough to know that a caring and well run program like this one doesn’t just pop out of thin air – it always starts at the top. The one individual who does deserve some criticism, however, is this Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Commissioner who is suppose to be looking after this population.

As Commissioner of DIDD, it is Jim Henry’s duty to be familiar with the special needs of this population along with all of the available resources and programs in the State of Tennessee. It’s also Jim Henry's duty to be a good advocate for those who need these services. Clearly, Henry should receive poor job performance scores in all of these areas - an effective advocate would have been more familiar, more supportive, more knowledgeable, and understood the important role the TEAM Center plays in Chattanooga, and, as such, done everything possible to prevent this kind of crisis from occurring in the first place.

August 6, 2011 at 10:11 a.m.
sandyonsignal said...

Mountain Laurel, why would they turn away the money they just were given? This doesn't make any sense.

August 6, 2011 at 10:24 a.m.
paperwerks said...

Andy, Charman's statement does NOT match what board of directors meetings are telling parents and others. There is a great deal of confusion. I suggest you follow the money -- your specialty. There is something very wrong here. I also suggest that you contact board members as a follow up. They are not aware that TEAM is closing, as I said above. --Kim Printz

August 6, 2011 at 10:32 a.m.
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