Residential Treatment Center closing

Feb 22, 2018

Cayuga Centers has announced it is closing its Residential Treatment Center based in Auburn.

The 166-year-old Auburn-based institution says dramatic changes in the nature of the youths it has been treating in its residential setting since the 1950s have prompted the Board of Trustees decision February 21, 2018.

Once the last resident is discharged, the agency will have laid off as many as 120 employees, said its president and chief executive officer, Edward Hayes.

Cayuga Centers has specialized and intensified its residential treatment program in recent years with some success, Hayes said. Because of its residential location, however, it experienced increasing difficulty attracting youths appropriate for the setting. It has declined to accept sexual offenders, for instance.

Operating with a diminished number of youths, the residential program has lost more than $2 million since July, Hayes said. “It would have been money well spent if it could have enabled us to attract the number of youth we need to break even. But the numbers just aren’t there.”

Most of the agency’s youth residences are just off of Hamilton Avenue.

“Trustees and senior staff members deeply regret having to lay off so many excellent people,” said David Connelly, the board’s chair. “They have been working extraordinarily hard, heart and soul, trying to make our residential program work under increasingly difficult circumstances. It grieves us to have to let them go.”

The big changes in youth services are, actually, part of a good-news story, Hayes said. “Youth services authorities have come to realize that placing troubled children with suitable, trained, loving families is far more effective for their treatment than housing them in group homes.”

The number of young people institutionalized has plummeted in recent years, greatly decreasing their number, he said. “Programs such as the Cayuga Centers-created Treatment Family Foster Care produce wonderful outcomes at much lower cost than congregate care placement.” In fact, Cayuga Centers continues to see an increase in placements to this program.

The programs that Cayuga Centers and other agencies have created in recent years enable them, with the help of participating families, to step in to a troubled young person’s life before he or she ends up incarcerated, Hayes said.

“We trustees have watched this exciting change for years,” Connelly said. “Cayuga Centers has been one of its leaders.”


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