Finding Emily’s New Home

Oct 20
Katie Cogdill, Area Director
Dungarvin Indiana
Image of Emily

Emily is a young woman with a developmental disability who lived with her mother and step-father in South Bend, Indiana for most of her life. Unfortunately, last winter Emily’s mother passed away unexpectedly and shortly thereafter Emily wandered away from home and was found by the police barefoot on a frigid night. She was taken to the hospital, where she received treatment for her injuries. When she was ready to be released, her family was unwilling to pick her up, telling the hospital that they were no longer able to care for Emily. Out of options, the hospital admitted Emily to its inpatient psychiatric care facility, which admittedly, was an inappropriate placement for Emily, even on a short term basis. Emily remained in inpatient psychiatric care for over 90 days without contact from her immediate family and with no personal belongings. Not even shoes.

Indiana’s Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services (BDDS) quickly became involved and worked with the hospital to find long-term residential placement for Emily. With their assistance, she met with two providers that were located two and three hours from South Bend. The idea of moving away from the town where she grew up and was comfortable frightened Emily and she was very adamant about her desire to stay in the South Bend area.

Growing concerned over Emily’s ongoing exposure to acute psychiatric patients and concerned about the potential long-distance relocation, a social worker from the hospital did an internet search for residential providers in the South Bend area and found Dungarvin. The social worker contacted an Area Director in the South Bend office and explained Emily’s situation. Right away Emily sounded like a good fit for the York home, and Dungarvin reached out to the local BDDS office and requested a referral.

Initially, Dungarvin encountered a roadblock as the BDDS office was hesitant about placing Emily in the York home due to the advanced age of her potential housemates. The Dungarvin Indiana team was moved by Emily’s story and was sure that Emily would do well at the York home, so a plan to ensure Emily received age appropriate social interactions and community integration was developed and presented to the Indiana state Director of Institutional Care. The plan was accepted and Emily was finally able to leave the inpatient psychiatric care facility and move into the facilities at Dungarvin in early September.

In her short time at York, Emily has flourished! When she first came to Dungarvin, Emily was hesitant to leave her room. She did not want to dress herself and refused to try new foods and activities. Today, thanks in large part to encouragement from the staff at the York home, she interacts with her housemates and has even attended a dance, where she met many new people and danced the night away. Emily has become more independent with tasks of daily living and is more willing to try new things (she has found that she loves cauliflower!). Emily recently started attending day services, which she had never been involved with before coming to York, and enjoys her time spent volunteering at a local park, exercising at the YMCA, and weekly trips to the library. In the last month, Emily’s family has come to visit her and they are working together to develop their new relationship.

We are so excited for Emily and we are happy that she has found her new home with Dungarvin.

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  1. Diana Velazquez,

    Such a great story to share. Stories like these is my motivation to serve this community. All individuals should be given the opportunity to reach their fullest potential in life.


  2. Pat McDonald,

    Such a good heartwarming outcome to a potentially devastating future for this young lady.


  3. Bobbie McDonald,

    Thank you, Katie Cogdill, and the team at Dungarvin, for making such a positive difference in the lives of so many.


  4. Helen Murere,

    Thanks very much Dungarvin, for taking this burden into your hands, and even restoring Emily’s life back. What else do we need in this field apart from competent, much concerns on people in need of help,and reliable company. Where can you find all these kindness? where else only Dungarvin. just give it a try you will get stuck. Congrats!!.


  5. Helen Murere,

    Congrats Dungarvin, taking that burden of this little girl. Infact this story alone tells much about how much concerns the company has for people, not only inside but even outside.I think I like working with residents/clients here because their esteem is always ontop after dungarvin worked harder and harder to make sure they always feel at home,. Once again thanks very much for good care.