Employees laid off as 2 children’s group homes close in Mahoning Co.

The Mahoning County Children Services Board decided, based on two years of study, that foster families are better for kids than group homes

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Mahoning County Children Services announced Wednesday that it is closing two children’s group homes and laying off 22 employees.

One of those employees is Rufus Hudson, who says they received a letter in March that said they might not be working the same amount of hours as they had in the past.

“We were informed, back on March 29…that we probably wouldn’t be getting any hours because of some changes that they were making corporately.”

On Wednesday, Hudson learned that he will be getting no hours soon. He wishes he would have known sooner.

“So that we, as employees, would understand what’s really going on. We really haven’t been told why the group homes are closing or what’s going on.”

Executive Director Randy Muth says it was not a spur-of-the-moment decision, and that the board has been studying the effect of group homes and foster families on children for two years.

“By far, the better model is for children to be in foster homes with a mom, a dad, two moms, two dads. In a family-like setting,” he said. “My board voted on April 21 to transition out but before we could implement the layoffs, we had to do two things.”

That was negotiating with the union and moving the children out of the group homes.

“Just by sheer coincidence, both of those things happened on Friday the 3rd. The last kids left and we had our last negotiation session,” Muth said.

The children living in the group homes have either gone with foster families or moved back in with relatives.

The layoffs will take effect June 26 of this year.

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