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posted: 4/10/2012 8:05 PM

Mundelein-area facility for young sex offenders to close in May

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A Mundelein-area residential facility for teen sex offenders and other troubled youths is closing, local and state officials confirmed Tuesday.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is ending its contract with Alternative Behavioral Treatment Centers, a move that cuts off necessary state funding for the operation, DCFS spokesman Kendall Marlowe said.

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The facility, which has occupied a 14-acre campus on North Fairfield Drive since the mid-1990s, has not been meeting performance-based standards, Marlowe said.

Those standards were implemented a few years ago and measure the ability of patients leaving the program to acclimate in other environments, among other things, Marlowe said.

Additionally, the program's building needs "significant improvement," Marlowe said.

DCFS officials informed ABTC in March about their decision not to continue funding for the next fiscal year, which begins in July, Marlowe said.

Robin McGinnis, ABTC's founder and CEO, did not respond to interview requests.

The center will shut down by May 31, Mundelein High School Superintendent Jody Ware said.

Mundelein High administrators were informed of the closure because they maintain the educational records for 27 high school-age teens at ABTC and its Fairfield Academy special education school.

Those students are included in Mundelein High's enrollment figures.

The roughly 40 ABTC residents will be transferred to other facilities throughout the state, Ware said. They will not be sent to local public schools, she said.

Ware learned of the pending closure April 2 from Fairfield Academy Principal Michael F. Ray. Initially, she was told the center would close April 5.

"It certainly was a surprise," Ware told the Mundelein High board Tuesday night.

Ware said her primary concern is ensuring the students' transcripts are ready for the transitions to different schools.

"I can't imagine transferring any student in April or May will be a smooth transition," Ware said.

Mundelein police and village leaders also were told of the facility's pending closure.

Founded in 1995 as a nonprofit treatment agency for adolescents, ABTC originally was located in Des Plaines. It moved to Lake County in 1997.

Marlowe praised McGinnis and her staff for their work with what he called "some of the toughest kids to treat."

"We respect their contribution," Marlowe said.

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