The 27-bed treatment center on the campus of the Multi-County Juvenile Attention Center in Canton Township was closed on June 1.
The Multi-County Juvenile Attention System continues to shrink.
On June 1, the 47-year-old inpatient treatment center on the system's campus in Canton Township, Stark County, was closed.
The system's superintendent, James McKenzie, said that keeping the facility open was no longer cost-effective because it only looked after about four to six girls.
The Center, At 815 Faircrest St. SW, it once had 27 beds, but with wing closures had a capacity of 18. Due to the difficulty of finding people to fill positions, the boy's wing was closed in February, said McKenzie.
According to the Multi-County website, the treatment center offered counseling, anger management courses, life skills courses, a social skills learning program, a healthy relationship program, and drug and alcohol courses. Judges from the Stark, Wayne, Columbiana, Tuscarawas, and Carroll counties often sentenced young people to six months to one year.
Around 20 people were employed in February when it was closed. McKenzie said the staff – including a cook, administrator, and advisor – had filled vacancies at other facilities in Multi-County to avoid layoffs. An employee decided to resign instead of cutting wages.
And the Canton Local School District, which provides teachers and principals for the Stark campus of Multi-County, was set on Monday to fire a teacher to dismiss the closure.
McKenzie said the pandemic played no role in deciding to close the center, except that it accelerated the move by a month because Canton Local had no summer school on campus due to the virus. McKenzie said none of the adolescents or employees tested positive for coronavirus.
On the Canton Township campus in Multi-County, the detention center and penitentiary remain open to boys convicted of crime who are under contract with the Ohio Department of Youth Services.
McKenzie said the treated girls were taken to the Multi-County's 10-bed group home in New Philadelphia.
McKenzie said the closure was the last step in "properly sizing" the system in the past two years. Due to judges trying to minimize the spread of the coronavirus, the system, with around 100 employees, has around 50 adolescents in its facilities, a drop from the usual 60 to 70.
The judges of the local family courts have fewer has posted youths to the Multi-County Juvenile Attention System facilities for the past two years. Instead, the judges have frequently referred young people to programs in their districts. The judges tried to avoid sending youths who committed minor violations to a youth facility where they could be influenced by youths who committed more serious crimes.
In 2018, Multi-County closed its 16-bed Rogers residential center in Columbiana County. McKenzie said that on July 1, Multi-County should convert its 20-bed Linda Martin Attention Center in Wooster from a juvenile detention center to a temporary facility. This move would save an estimated $ 2 million a year with the closure of the treatment center and other cuts.
Stark County Commissioner Bill Smith, a member of the Multi-County Board of Trustees, said Stark County's contribution to the system is from around $ 4.6 million last year to around 3.8 million US dollar fell. And he expects a further cut in 2021 as system spending continues to decrease. He said this is coming on time as the pandemic is expected to significantly impact county earnings next year.
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