"It almost felt like, you know, something bad had happened. Like we'd done something wrong. Almost like the SWAT Team coming in, you know what I mean." That's how staff member Gabby Barnett described state adult protective service workers barging into Getchell Agency clients' homes at 6:30 a.m., Wednesday.
It was a few hours later, Department of Health and Human Services workers arrived at the agency's Broadway office to explain their actions.
Agency supervisor. Lori Welch stated "Adult protective did and said there were five open investigative cases. We were not aware of any investigations that were going on."
Getchell agency has about 40 mobile homes in Birch Hill Estates in Bangor, used to house developmentally disabled adults and live-in direct care workers.
Welch added "To be so disruptive in the homes at six o'clock in the morning, that is just not right."
It's not a question of whether adult protective service workers are supposed to inspect service providers. Barnett stated "I've had adult protective services come into the house many times. But never, ever have they just walked in and invaded us like that, ever."
Wednesday was the second time this week, adult protective staffers allegedly forced their way into one of the Getchell homes.
Donna Ladd lives in a quiet neighborhood in Bangor. Tuesday afternoon she was watching a movie when there was an unexpected knock on the door. When she answered it, she said, adult protective service workers forced their way into her home. She said "So I opened the door a crack, enough so they could see me, but not enough to open. And they pretty much barged through me and my dog into the house."
The Getchell Agency has provided services in Bangor for 17 years. It's owner believes DHHS staffers are unfairly targeting her business. In fact, she said "They told me 'They will come in and either do a review. I will pay for it.' That they do not want me talking to our governor."
A DHHS spokesperson issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying, "DHHS cannot confirm or deny APS investigations."