Maryville Academy to stop housing youths
After 132 years, Maryville Academy will no longer serve as a home for youths, in the face of a looming state funding cut in residential and institutional aid, the Des Plaines-based child care organization said Tuesday.
The decision affects 29 teen boys living at Maryville's campus in Des Plaines, 31 teen girls living at residential treatment homes in Bartlett, and eight teen girls at shelter in Chicago.
Almost all are wards of the state. As such, it will be up to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services to place them into new residences this summer, when Maryville will begin to phase out its residential programs, said Sister Catherine Ryan, Maryville's executive director.
Ryan said DCFS officials over the past two weeks have been warning of a $23 million funding cut for residential and institutional programs statewide. Maryville and other organizations have been receiving DCFS funds despite the ongoing state budget stalemate due to a federal consent decree, but Ryan said the department's funding levels have continued to decline for several years.
"With the additional cut, we said we can't sustain it," Ryan said. "We can't keep making up the difference."
The closure includes the St. George and St. Vincent de Paul residential treatment programs for boys at 1150 N. River Road in Des Plaines; Casa Salama, Casa Cariño and Casa Imani programs for girls at Maryville's Eisenberg campus, 951 W. Bartlett Road in Bartlett; and John and Mary Madden Shelter, 1658 W. Grand Ave. in Chicago.
Meanwhile, DCFS officials have told Maryville and other child welfare agencies they plan to reduce the number of youths living in residential treatment facilities, with the goal of placing more children in foster homes.
Ryan said she agrees with that goal -- so long as children can live there safely -- and plans to work with DCFS on new "programs of collaboration." What those programs might look like is still being determined, she said.
Maryville will also work on starting or expanding programs of its own, including early childhood development and in-community youth services, Ryan said.
The organization plans to put emphasis on programs for children in poverty, and also offer programs for youths in the community to develop life skills, education and healing, she said.
Last year, Maryville opened a family behavioral health clinic for mental health and substance abuse treatment. The organization also operates a crisis nursery for children up to age 6 for families dealing with an urgent crisis, and a special education school for boys ages 5 to 21.
"It's important people know Maryville is not closing," Ryan said. "We are continuing, but it's going to be with a different emphasis because of the needs of today."
Maryville announced the move to shutter its residential facilities in a letter to donors Tuesday. Officials also informed staff members at the three sites.
Ryan said there would be no layoffs as a result of the decision.