Rogers Group Home to close

ROGERS — The Rogers Group Home, a residential facility that helped wayward boys try to get their lives on track, is no more.

The 16-bed group home is closing after 47 years, with the last remaining resident transferred Thursday to another facility.

“Financially, it’s become impossible to continue operating,” said Columbiana County Commissioner Tim Weigle, who sits on the Multi-County Juvenile Attention System board, which agreed to close the facility due to declining usage.

MCJAS provides state-mandated residential juvenile detention and treatment services for the five member counties: Columbiana, Carroll, Stark, Tuscarawas and Wayne. Juvenile court judges in the counties can sentence youths 12-17 who have been found delinquent to either to a detention facility or residential treatment facility operated by MCJAS, and the Rogers Group Home served as a treatment facility.

MCJAS operates four other facilities, including the Louis Tobin Center west of Lisbon, which is a detention facility. Weigle said usage has been declining in recent years to the point where only half of the 94 detention facility beds in the system were currently being used and only 16 percent of the 47 residential treatment facility beds.

The Rogers facility was averaging less than two boys per day this year.

Weigle said the reason for the decline is more youths declared delinquent by the judges are being sentenced to a detention-alternative rehabilitation and counseling programs available through the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative. These are outpatient programs, which makes them considerably cheaper than requiring the youths to live in a residential treatment facility.

“The judges are changing how their treatment facilities are being used. If they aren’t going to send kids to detention” we needed to consider alternatives, he said, and that resulted in the decision to close the Rogers Group Home.

Unlike the Tobin Center, which is owned by MCJAS, the Rogers Group Home is owned by county commissioners. Weigle said they have already been approached by three people interested in operating it as a drug addiction treatment residential facility.

“Once its closed and we take a look at what’s inside, we’ll decide what to do with it,” he said.

Closing the home and other cost-cutting measures are expected to save MCJAS $581,382 in 2019.

The group home employed five people who will fill existing vacancies at other MCJAS facilities, Weigle said.