Officials shut down adult foster care home

EAGLE POINT — Health officials shut down an adult foster care home Thursday night after allegations surfaced that a caregiver struck a mentally disabled man, giving him a black eye.

Mary Gear, administrator for the Office of Licensing and Quality of Care with the Oregon Department of Health and Human Services, said the home at 2433 Ball Road, run by Harry Schneider, had been closed and the license suspended while an investigation was under way.

"He's the alleged perpetrator here," said Gear. She said none of the allegations so far have been substantiated against the 55-year-old resident manager, but medical and forensic experts will evaluate the situation during a process that could take months before it is concluded.

Schneider said the charges are false and that the mentally disabled man received a black eye when he fell during a "drop" seizure, which causes sudden loss of muscle strength.

"I did not hit him," he said.

Another foster home at 10740 Agate Road, which is run by Schneider's wife, Kelly, can continue to operate as long as Harry Schneider doesn't enter the premises, said Gear. Kelly Schneider owns both foster care homes.

The mentally disabled man was a resident of the Agate Road home and his seizure took place Monday when Harry Schneider visited there.

Gear said the closure of the Ball Road facility was necessary because of concerns about the health and safety of the five residents, who suffer from dementia and other disorders.

"Everyone has been relocated except one person," she said.

Closing a foster home is unusual, said Gear, adding it happens about twice a year throughout Oregon.

Kathie Young, district manager for the Seniors and People with Disabilities Division through the department of human services, said she couldn't discuss other allegations that are being investigated.

"Where there is sufficient scope and severity of allegations, we take action," she said.

Sheriff Mike Winters also said he wouldn't discuss an ongoing criminal investigation.

Kelly Schneider denied the allegations against her husband.

"This is just something that has really snowballed," she said. "He didn't do anything wrong. He didn't hit this guy."

Kelly Schneider said her husband ran in to help the man during his seizure.

"He got him to a safe spot so he could have his seizure," she said.

The man was taken to the doctor, who adjusted his medications, she said. She said the resident, whom she described as in his 30s with the mental capacity of a 6-year-old, told the doctor he had fallen and hit his head. The Schneiders are hoping the doctor will tell investigators his account.

The injured resident went to a dentist on Wednesday to get treated for a chipped tooth, she said. The resident also told the dentist he had fallen and hurt himself, she said.

"On Thursday one of his sisters came and picked him up and asked who hit him and he said my husband," Kelly Schneider said. "That's the story he's sticking to now. It's not true."

She said the resident has had a history of hurting himself during seizures. When he was at a foster home in Ashland, he would have up to 25 seizures a day, she said.

While at the Schneiders' home, the resident has only one seizure a day, she said.

Kelly Schneider said removing the residents from the home was unnecessary and is very disruptive to the people she has under her care. She said her husband was willing to stay away from the home while the investigation was under way. "This is an injustice to these people," she said.

Harry Schneider said state officials are taking extreme action against him that will hurt not only the residents but him and his wife.

"We will be on the brink of bankruptcy now," he said.

He said he is not sure why the resident changed his story, but said it could have something to do with his mental condition.

When officials came to the Ball Road home, he said another elderly man was taken to the hospital. "They thought he was emaciated," he said. "The hospital gave him a clean bill of health."

Harry Schneider, who is part of a local organization called Adult Family Care Providers, said people shouldn't get the wrong impression of adult foster homes.

"Most foster homes do a good job," he said. "Ours does, too."

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476 or

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