Citing sustained Department of Child Services funding cuts, the Family & Children’s Center announced Wednesday it will close five of 12 children’s treatment units by March 30.
In a statement, Children’s Campus officials said 28 children in specialized treatment programs will be displaced.
“It is truly unfortunate that the life-changing care these children need and are receiving is being interrupted due to financial pressures,” said Kris Ermeti, executive director.
“The new reimbursement rates from DCS do not support the level of care we believe these children need, so a different kind of step-down care will need to be found at other facilities. We will do all we can to assist the referring agencies in finding the most appropriate level of treatment at new locations for the children in our care.”
A recent Tribune series, “For the Love of Children,” described changes in Indiana DCS policies resulting in sending fewer children to residential and specialized treatment programs while also cutting reimbursement rates to the facilities that provide them. DCS now controls the money for children’s services, which used to be disbursed at the county level.
The news release states that for The Children’s Campus, the reimbursement rates for 2012 were cut almost 30 percent on top of a 5 percent reduction in 2011.
“After downsizing and implementing other significant cost cutting measures throughout 2011 in anticipation of these cuts, we regret to announce that the actual reimbursement reduction has far exceeded what was projected,” we have had to make the difficult decisions to announce further downsizing,” Bruce L. Greenberg, CEO of Family and Children’s Center, said in the statement.
Greenberg said 27 employees will be affected by the cuts. Four of the units are on the campus on Lincoln Way West at Logan Street, and one is a group home on Main Street in Mishawaka.
“While we can appreciate the state’s goals to be more efficient and save money, it’s tragic that the most vulnerable children and families of our community are unable to access the care and services they need to effectively function in society,” Greenberg said, pointing out that private fundraising efforts in recent years have not been enough.
Family and Children’s Center was founded in 1882 as an orphanage. Its affiliates include The Children’s Campus in Mishawaka, Family & Children’s Center Counseling and Development Services, Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County and Prevent Child Abuse St. Joseph County.