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(4:55 PM) GA Family Services To Close Residential Treatment, Learning Centers

Gustavus Adolphus Family Services announced Friday it is closing its Residential Treatment Center and Learning Center. P-J photo by Eric Tichy

Gustavus Adolphus Family Services, a longtime Jamestown-based organization that provides a variety of services to at-risk youth and their families, confirmed to The Post-Journal it is closing its Residential Treatment Center and Learning Center.

Located on Gustavus Avenue in the city, GA Family Services said Friday it had filed a 90-day closure plan with the New York State Office of Child and Family Services and state Education Department. The closure will impact 100 employees considered “direct care and ancillary support positions” with the nonprofit youth service organization.

“Caring for and educating at-risk youth in New York state continues to evolve as youth needs have become more complex over time,” said Tom Holt, president and CEO of GA Family Services, in a statement. “Aside from talent acquisition challenges, referral patterns for residential-style programs like GA Family Services have shifted in favor of more comprehensive programs aimed at treating these behavior challenged youth in more secure facilities.”

GA Family Services is part of the Lutheran Social Services family. Holt stressed that Lutheran services will not be impacted by the closure of the Residential Treatment Center and Learning Center.

Holt said since the facility that houses GA Family Services’ Residential Treatment Center is older and was not built to accommodate newer treatment models, administration had to “re-evaluate all services offered as part of its long-term strategic planning.”

The findings ultimately detailed that while the new regulatory landscape primarily impacted the Residential Treatment Center, it also indirectly affected the Learning Center as it cannot survive on public day school students alone.

In all, more than 60 youth attend the Learning Center. About half of them live at Gustavus Avenue facility as part of the treatment center.

“When it comes to the at-risk youth currently in our care, we will be working closely with referring agencies, local and state governing bodies, community partners, and area public schools to ensure that they all continue to receive the education, care, and support they need during this process,” Holt said. “As for our dedicated employees, outplacement support and resources will be made available to them through the Human Resources office. We will also work with community partners to find employment opportunities for them after closure,” he said.

Holt said GA Family Services will shift focus to community-based programs, including foster care, the Regional Permanency Center, Pathways Supervised Visitation, Accountability and Responsibility After School Program and Health Home Care Management.

In comments to The Post-Journal, Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello said, “The county is working with GA Family Services to ensure the continuity of care for those affected by the closure.

“We will be working with GA Family Services, along with Chautauqua Works, to ensure that those employed there have the opportunity to fill open positions in the marketplace that meet their skills and training. It’s important that the students impacted receive continuity of care. That is what we have been focused on ensuring. It is part of the closure plan that is submitted to the state.”

This story will be updated.