Culture

Muncie YWCA Policies Questionable

Last week, we discussed the unfortunate death of Laura Moore, a six year resident at the YWCA who passed away in her small apartment and went undiscovered for five days.

Despite concerns shared by residents with Residential Director, Christine Weans, she refused to check on Ms. Moore.

It took residents breaking into her apartment to discover their friend. The Delaware County Coroner is still waiting for toxicology reports to determine the exact cause of death.

Since the article, both friends and family have shared memories of Laura, and it’s obvious she will be missed. Her mother commented, “Laura always went out of her way to help others and refused to accept credit for her good deeds.”

One item which surfaced from both past and current residents was the issue of handling prescription medicine at the YWCA. We asked a front desk attendant at the YWCA about their policy, and she stated that all tenants must relinquish prescribed medicine to the Residential Director who locks them in a cabinet near her office. They are then checked out by the residents when it’s time for them to take medications.

We checked with both local and state offices of public health about this policy, but since the YWCA is not a healthcare facility, they are not regulated so the writer was referred to the Indiana Pharmacy Board. The Pharmacy Board establishes very strict regulations and codes for handling medications. Handlers must be certified or licensed and adhere to strict precautionary methods for storing and administering medications.

Based on conversations with social workers and former residents, they believe the YWCA’s policy leads to potential abuse and misuse by those in charge of protecting the prescribed medications. Several sources have filed police reports and have made accusations about their prescriptions coming up short or missing. Copies of police records confirmed these accusations. In fact, Ms. Moore’s prescription medications were not found when asked by police and the coroner’s department.

Therefore, we asked Jeremy Rick, the Executive Director of the Muncie YWCA, what policies he had in place to maintain the safety of the locked up prescription medicines. We asked what best practices were established to follow up on resident complaints about missing meds. We also asked if complaints would prompt drug testing of those who held keys to cabinet holding the pills. We got no response.

We’d like to repeat the YWCA’s mission, “To empower women, eliminate racism, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.”

Calls were made to the Indiana Pharmacy Board inquiring about whether the Muncie YWCA’s prescription pill storage procedures had been approved by their board. The only response we received after numerous phone calls was “No comment.”

It’s unfortunate that the Executive Director of a facility receiving nearly $1 million of taxpayer funds during the Sharon McShurley administration to improve their building isn’t more cooperative with public information requests. As opposed to putting forth a fundraising effort to attract dollars from donors interested in supporting their mission, they applied for and received dollars from community development while other centers and organizations were denied allowing the YWCA to upgrade windows and upgrade electrical wiring.

We can certainly understand why our Muncie Family YWCA is keeping a low profile. Allowing a resident of their facility to go undetected for five days is embarrassing. However, Laura Moore’s death allowed residents to share stories that are anything but empowering to the women who have no where else to go. The YWCA is falling short of its mission and there are some policies and procedures which need immediate attention by the Board of Directors.

We are hoping that the untimely death and unfortunate circumstances surrounding Laura’s death serves as a impetus for change in an organization dedicated to help women who have nowhere else to turn. As opposed to taking advantage of these women with demeaning policies and dictatorial leadership, we’re hoping the Board of Directors investigates these complaints, checks into their policies, and re-evaluates existing leadership within the Muncie YWCA.

Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.

2 Comments

  1. I recently read the article concerning the occurences at the YWCA. The writer who posted the two articles, concerning the YWCA, needs to desperately check the credibilty of his sources. Laura was a very dear friend of mine and sadly she was addicted to presciption medications. Henceforth, her death, while unexpected, was inevitable. I have been a part of this facility in one way or another for close to 4 years now and what I’ve learned is, people are going to do what they want to do to, especially troubled and addicted individuals. I believe people are just looking to blame someone because they cannot accept the facts.

    As for the Residential Director, Christine Weans: she is absolutely the best advocate and ally for the women who do come through the YWCA’s doors. She is the strongest, kindest and most caring woman I’ve ever met in my entire life. She takes on some very questionable characters with horrendous backgrounds, meanwhile knowing it could end in dissappointment, and gives them the opportunities that no one else is willing to give them. I’ve witnessed miracles here: women changing their lives, women being reunited with their children, families getting back on their feet, addicts and ex-cons becoming productive, rehabilatated members of society. For most of these women, Christine is their last hope, she is their only hope. It takes a very special person to do the job she does everyday . It takes a person with phenomanal strength and character to do the things she has done and continues to do.
    I was here the day Laura Moore was found. I know the facts because I was there. As far as I’m concerned, they’re irrelevant and the stories you posted were mostly lies and biased opinions. The YWCA has been helping women for many years and I’m sure the facility will continue for many more years to come. I personally love the residents and the staff here, they are the only family I know. It just really disappoints me to see someone try to destroy good people and a productive place when we are already grieving the loss of one of our own.

    1. Thank you for responding Frances.

      There were many sources who contributed to the two articles already written and even enough material for a third article. The YWCA should be transitional housing for women as they move back into society. We verified that Laura was living at the YWCA for six years with rental subsidy provided by Center Township Trustee.

      According to your words as a friend, “Laura was addicted to prescription medicine.”

      There are policies at the YWCA which prevent the illegal use of drugs and if she was taking pills that weren’t prescribed to her by way of the locked prescriptions, and YWCA employee administered plan, why wasn’t she referred to a facility more adept at handling such cases?

      Six years is a long time for a community to pay rent to an organization who allowed her to continue abusing medications.

      We tried to verify if the YWCA’s policies were approved by the State or County, and the one entity who might have had a vested interest in their prescription handling policies provided “no comment” instead.

      Also, you should know that residents were “interrogated” after the first article was written. The YWCA has very specific Whistle Blowing policies and retaliation is forbidden.

      There seems to be some issues internally at the YWCA requiring serious oversight. We understand the executive director has resigned and is no longer there. Maybe the board of directors will take this time to do a full review of internal policies.

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