PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Annie E. Casey Foundation is closing Casey Family Services in all 7 states where it operates, including Maine.
A spokesperson for the foundation says this was a difficult decision to make, but the foundation believes it can reach more children by ending these services. Casey Family Services handles foster care, adoption, and family reunification.
The foundation plans to change its mission to one of grant making.
Non-profit agencies that work in foster care, children's mental health, juvenile justice and other areas that affect kids will all be able to receive those grants.
The Casey Foundation says across the 7 states, 400 kids and 280 jobs will be affected.
According to DHHS, 92 children are served in Maine. There are 42 employees.
Casey's Maine Division Director Mark Millar says those employees are getting severance packages. Most of them will lose their jobs by December. A few people, including Millar, will continue to ensure smooth transitions for families through next June.
Millar also says that Casey Family Services will have a pool of money dedicated to helping foster children that the non-profit already committed to help after they leave the system. That money goes to expenses related to post-secondary education and sometimes a first month's rent for a child who has aged out of the foster care system.
Therese Cahill Low, the Director of Child and Family Services for the state of Maine called the impact of the Casey Foundation's decision "huge," but she says both the state and Casey Family Services are committed to making sure that every child has a clincally appropriate transition.
Cahill Low said, "For our office, it's a big deal. For the children, it's another transition in their lives that they'll have to deal with. But they'll all get the services that they need. So in the end, it will be OK. But it's a quality program. So I'm sad to see them go."