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updated: 7/8/2014 6:35 PM

Former Larkin Center shutting down July 31

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Staff, students and residents will be leaving the former Larkin Center -- which began helping people in Elgin in 1896 -- by the end of the month.

Lawrence Hall, which took over some of the center's operations last fall, had announced in May it was cost-prohibitive to continue running the Therapeutic Day School and group homes at 1212 Larkin Ave.

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Lawrence Hall will be out of the school and community homes no later than July 31, Lawrence Hall Interim Chief Executive Officer Kara Teeple said via email.

The 50 or so employees affected by the closure are being encouraged to apply for open positions at Lawrence Hall Youth Services, which has also reached out to other agencies on the employees' behalf, Teeple said.

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

"The lack of referrals from both the local district and neighboring districts clearly indicates that our services are not needed in the Elgin community," Teeple said.

In May, there were six students plus 30 youths in the group home program. All will be transitioned to alternative placements by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services or the referring school districts, Teeple said.

Lawrence Hall has no decision-making authority in the process, she added.

"We made advance notifications to our public and community partners and are working with them to develop a thoughtful plan for the smooth and orderly transition of the Elgin students following the end of summer school and the remaining youth in care by July 31," she said.

The Elgin Charter School Initiative, a group that wants to start a new Elgin Math and Science Academy in Elgin, said last month the Larkin Center site is among possible locations for the charter school.

Kane County property tax records for 1212 Larkin Ave. are under the name of St. Charles Bank & Trust, whose representatives did not return calls seeking comment.

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