FOSTER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A state center serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities is set to close its doors over the next two months in spite of a legal battle to prevent it.
The closure of White Haven Center was announced in August of 2019 and was said to take at least three years.
In spite of numerous protests by families, workers, and even politicians; the center is on track to close between late February to early March.
In a statement made in 2019, State Senator John Yudichak (D – Luzerne/Carbon) said that the decision to close the center was made “without consultation or an ounce of input from the Luzerne County legislative delegation.”
Gregory M. Smith, former White Haven Center Director and current President of the Board of Trustees, has been involved with the legal battle that family members of several residents have fought since the announcement.
Smith is not optimistic at this time that the lawsuit will save the center.
“The federal court is dismissive of the lawsuit and did not give it its just due or consideration,“ Smith explained.
The closure will occur after the remaining residents have been relocated, a process Smith says will take until late February to early March. He states that moving the patients from White Haven Center would be detrimental to their conditions.
“I believe it may result in the premature death of many of those residents.“
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services states that less than 40 people remain at the center.