Elgin tables pact with Larkin Center takeover agency
By Mike Danahey firstname.lastname@example.org @DanaheyECN on Twitter October 24, 2013 12:40AM
The Rakow Center School at 515 Sports Way in Elgin. Formerly operated by the Larkin Center, which closed last week, the school is to be taken over by Chicago-based Lawrence Hall Youth Services. | Mike Danahey~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 26, 2013 6:21AM
ELGIN — The city council on Wednesday night tabled a vote that would have led to Lawrence Hall Youth Services of Chicago taking over a lease that the now-defunct Larkin Center had with the city.
On Oct. 18, after 117 years of service, the social service agency officially went out of business.
As of Monday, adults who were living in housing provided through programs of the Larkin Center were being re-interviewed and diagnosed by staff at the Ecker Center for Mental Health in Elgin, which is overseeing their care now.
Lawrence Hall Youth Services, which has agreed to take over some of the Larkin Center programming including four of its youth group homes, confirmed late Monday that it also would operate the Rakow Center School at 515 Sports Way in Elgin.
That site stands on part of the old Elgin Mental Health Center property, which is owned by the state of Illinois. It was renovated in 2000 and is leased to the city for a nominal fee, with the city in turn leasing the building to the Larkin Center.
However, multiple sources Wednesday night said the motion was tabled because Lawrence Hall wanted to go over the wording of any agreement.
There also was concern whether the wording of the existing agreement between Elgin and the Larkin Center would allow the lease to stand, and clarification was being sought.
In a related development, a press release issued late Wednesday by the Larkin Center noted that Lawrence Hall Youth Services “will be caring for all clients in our Residential/Group Home Program as well as our Transitional Skills Center Program and our Therapeutic Day School. The Ecker Center for Mental Health, who has provided outpatient mental health services to adults and their families since 1955, will be caring for clients in our Adult Programs.”
“The only remaining program to be transferred is our Community Counseling and Services Program,” the release said. “We have begun working with several agencies to create a possible solution to transfer our contract and services for this program. The welfare and continuity of care for our community counseling clients is our priority moving forward.”
The release thanked the other organizations that have taken over services and said they have hired about one third of the former Larkin Center employees.
“We have been privileged to work alongside a community who has embraced our mission and has given those suffering clients, with nowhere else to turn, solace and a sense of belonging,” the release said. “These clients will remain part of your community and will need all your support so they are not forgotten.”