Two vulnerable adults were given just five hours’ notice before being evicted from a special residential home in Sittingbourne, their families say.
Achieve Together, which runs Berkeley House in Lynsted Lane, has apologised and said an investigation is underway.
Residents say they were told at noon that they would need to move by 5pm following a visit from the Care Quality Commission.
Michael Wakefield, who had been living at the home for several years, has autism, suffers with severe anxiety and requires specialist around the clock care.
His dad Graham said he was about to go to work when he received an email saying the home was closing on October 29.
He told ITV Meridian: “Panic set in about how we were going to get Michael out. Fortunately. we found an emergency placement in Essex but they weren’t ready.”
Staff were still painting walls when Michael, 29, arrived and he had to be sedated.
His mother Yola said: “When we got there he said ‘I want to go back.’ He kept asking ‘Have I done something wrong? Am I in trouble?’ because he thought he’d been asked to leave.
“Our son is in pieces. We’re gradually having to piece him back together again.”
Graham added: “We can understand if there had been a fire or a flood or a rat infestation but this was a decision by Achieve Together to cut and run.
“Under the Care Act, anyone closing a care home should be allowing enough time for those people to transition and find suitable accommodation, but in four hours you can’t do that.”
“He has been dropped into an alien environment and with autism that doesn’t work.
“I’m so angry. To think that a large organisation like that could behave like that with no consequence, you couldn’t evict other people from their accommodation in such short time.
“To to say ‘we can no longer meet the needs of the service and therefore we are de-registering seems to get them out of jail free and they can walk away.”
Lawrence Green has complex needs and requires around-the-clock specialist 2-1 support. He has Pica - a compulsive eating disorder in which people eat nonfood items.
His father Paul said: “This is actually the senior management, at board level, at a company that’s the third largest care provider in the UK and they’ve failed the people they are supposed to be serving.”
Paul says he’s speaking out not just for Lawrence, but for the other residents living at Berkeley House who don’t have relatives to speak up for them.
He said: “I heard others were put on coaches and said goodbye to their carers through the window by putting their hands on the glass. That just shouldn’t happen in this modern day and age.”
Lawrence’s mother Cathy wants changes made to prevent similar sudden closures from happening again.
She said: “They’ve no empathy and no feeling whatsoever for the most vulnerable people in our society.” and to me that means they shouldn’t be doing what they are doing.
“They should get out of that business, they have no right to be with our families who need help.”
Both families say their care workers and other frontline staff at Berkeley House were doing everything they could to support their children but looked stretched, but they claim they often looked stretched.
A spokesman for Achieve Together said: “We are clear that the provision delivered at Berkeley House fell way below the high standards that the people we support rightly expect and deserve, and that we know we can provide. We wholeheartedly apologise for this.
“Following a recent inspection of the service, our CQC and local authority partners determined that people’s needs would be better met in alternative provision and immediate action was taken to instigate this.
“Within the very short time frame available, we followed all recommendations made by the CQC, including immediately deploying an expert management and support team which helped to identify suitable new placements for every person.
“The circumstances surrounding the closure of this service are extremely complex and unique, and involved numerous parties. However, we completely recognise the distress and concern that the speed and nature of this closure caused for the people and families involved, and the impact it has subsequently had.
“A thorough investigation is already underway to ensure all of the specific issues raised by the CQC and others are robustly addressed and so that lessons can be learnt. These actions will be communicated with the people we support, their families, the local authority, CQC, and other relevant stakeholders, who we are continuing to work in close partnership with.”