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Legion Attorneys Seek Copy of Health Department Study on Children's Home

INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Attorneys for The American Legion Department of Indiana have filed a formal request for a copy of a study cited by the Indiana State Department of Health as the basis for its decision to permanently close the Indiana Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's Home at Knightstown, Indiana.

The request was filed in accordance with provisions of Indiana's Public Records Act, which requires the Department to release the study unless it meets certain criteria for exception to the law.

In its original announcement of the decision to close the home, the ISDH described the study as a "three-year" inquiry into the operation of the home, and referred to a number of "findings" revealed by the study. Critics of the decision were skeptical of the study, and the ISDH, in a statement signed by the Indiana Commissioner of Health, Judith Monroe, MD, subsequently referred to the study as an "assessment."

The American Legion, a long-time financial and social supporter of the home, has challenged the Health Department's assertions that, among other things, at-risk youths housed there can be adequately educated in community schools.

"Basically, the Health Department has no plan for these youngsters, other than to return them to the dysfunctional environments they came from," said Ralph Tolan, American Legion Commander."

"All we ask is that the state restore funding for 2009-2010. With that, an honest and careful evaluation of the home - based on the true measure of its success, rather than on its budget impact only - can be conducted," Tolan said.

Representatives of The American Legion will meet with Health Department officials at 2:00 p.m. Friday, January 23, 2009, to discuss the Department's decision. The Legion also is working with the ISSCH Alumni Association on a Statehouse rally scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Monday, January 26, 2009, A number of state legislators have promised hearings on the closing, and The American Legion orchestrated a one-day mail and e-mail campaign targeting legislators Wednesday, January 14.

The Indiana Public Records Act is contained in P.L. 19-1983, Sec. 6, and amended by P.L. 77-1995, Sec. 1 (IC 5-14-3.)

SOURCE American Legion
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