Disability Care Provider Arrested After Clients Left Alone

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AKRON, Ohio -- The chief operating officer of a company providing care to 18 developmentally disabled individuals has been arrested, accused of numerous violations regarding the qualifications of company caregivers.

The Summit County Sheriff's Office became involved in the investigation after two employees of 'Hands of Care' were accused of leaving a group home for more than two hours with no one watching clients who required around the clock care.

Inspector Bill Holland of the Summit County Sheriff's Office said the employees' shift ended at midnight, but they stayed until 2 a.m. because the next set of caregivers did not show up.

Their replacements did not arrive until 5:30 a.m.

Holland said one of the disabled clients who was left without a caregiver is required to have 24 hour visual contact seven days a week.

The Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board contacted the sheriff's office after their initial investigation revealed the caregivers did not have the required training, although fraudulent documents were discovered at the Hands of Care office showing they did.

"Residential specialists that provide care for these disabled people are required to have this mandatory training every year that certifies them as caregivers," said Holland. "There were training documents with their names and signatures on them that they had not signed."

Holland said the documents were created by CEO Lytiffany Sykes, 39, of Akron without her employees knowing,

A compliance review by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities also revealed at least 28 different violations including missing employee background checks, employees with felony convictions and at least 20 employees that had not received mandatory training.

Sykes was arrested and charged with tampering with records and forgery, both felonies.

"The residential specialists are given a lot of responsibility and a lot of trust is put in their hands. When a loved one is put in their care you would hope they have the expertise to do so," said Holland.

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