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Youth Villages Oregon plans to end residential services in Lake Oswego


Agency that cares for troubled youth says it will begin laying off 74 workers on March 1

Youth Villages Oregon alerted county officials Wednesday that it will stop offering residential services at its Christie Campus in Lake Oswego and begin laying off or transferring workers on March 1.

LaTonya Pendleton, the managing director of human resources for Youth Villages, told the Clackamas County Workforce Investment Council that 74 employees would be affected at the facility, which is located near Mary’s Woods and the Marylhurst University campus.

Affected employees range from program managers and a charge nurse to teacher/counselors, night monitors and therapists. Some of the workers will be offered positions in other Youth Villages programs in Oregon and outside the state, Pendleton said.

Youth Villages Oregon is one of two programs currently facing the loss of their state licenses to care for foster children and troubled teens. In early December, the Oregon Department of Human Services said it was working with the Oregon Department of Justice to draft “intent to revoke” letters to Youth Villages, which also operates a facility in Oregon City and a family intervention program in Redmond, and to Scotts Valley School, a therapeutic boarding program in Yoncalla, south of Eugene.

As a result of a recent review, DHS spokesman Gene Evans said the state would stop placing foster children at Youth Villages programs in December and would move the children who were already there to other placements. But Connie Mills, manager of public relations for Youth Villages, told The Review on Thursday that 15 children were still receiving services at the Christie Campus this week.

"We are in the midst of finalizing an agreement with the state," Mills said, "but will be able to share information once it's finalized."

Mills said that agreement could be finalized as soon as Thursday, but that negotiations could stretch into next week.

Youth Villages established itself locally in 2011 when it merged with ChristieCare, an organization that served thousands of Oregon families since its founding in 1859, the same year Oregon earned statehood.

The nonprofit provides residential treatment for youths with severe emotional and behavioral problems.It also provides intensive in-home support for children who might otherwise be placed in foster care, residential treatment, detention centers, hospitals or juvenile facilities.

When the state announced the results of its review earlier this month, Mills said in a statement that Youth Villages took officials' concerns seriously and was making improvements to the program.

“We have a long history of providing care for Oregon’s youth who face some of the biggest challenges, and our commitment to caring for them is steadfast,” Mills wrote.