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updated: 5/13/2014 12:10 PM

Leaving: Agency not moving kids to Chicago sites

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Saying it's become "cost prohibitive," Lawrence Hall Youth Services officials said they plan to leave the former Larkin Center school and group home program they took over just seven months ago in Elgin.

Poor attendance at an open house held April 23 -- only two people from local school districts showed up, out of 2,500 invited -- was a sign that the services are not needed in Elgin, Lawrence Hall CEO Mary Hollie wrote via email.

The Chicago-based agency began providing services for youth in four group homes and students of the Therapeutic Day School when the Larkin Center announced it would close in October.

"Over the past several months we have invested significant resources in maintaining facilities, establishing infrastructure, and building relationships in the community to support the children and families in our care," Hollie wrote.

The agency has notified the Department of Children and Family services and the Illinois State Board of Education "to develop a thoughtful plan for the smooth and orderly transition" of six students plus 30 youth in the group home program over the next several months. The school has capacity for 100, Hollie said.

The agency has no plans to move any youth or students to its Chicago sites.

"We entered the Elgin community with the intent to provide quality services to youth and families," Hollie wrote.

However, the lack of attendance at the open house last month, along with a lack of referrals from school districts, "clearly indicates that our services are not needed in the Elgin community," she wrote.

The Larkin Center closed due to financial difficulties. Its adult residential and counseling programs were taken over by the Ecker Center for Mental Health in Elgin.

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