St. Cabrini Home to close

We just received a press release from the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Catholic order that has run the St. Cabrini Home for troubled girls in Esopus since 1890:

The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus have engaged in ministry at the St. Cabrini Home for more than one hundred years.  After careful and thoughtful consideration, and in consultation with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, the Board of Trustees for the St. Cabrini Home has decided to commence a prompt and orderly discontinuation of the Residential Treatment Care (RTC) Program.  The Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus are saddened by the closure of the RTC Program, but remain committed and confident that the life and ministry of the St. Cabrini Home will continue in a different form.

As we noted last week, representatives of the St. Cabrini Home met recently with Esopus town officials to discuss potential plans for their 600-acre property.

Update: Adam Bosch at the Times Herald-Record has a story on the home's closing. An excerpt:

The sisters, board members and state regulators said the home decided to close because of financial trouble. Federal tax documents from 2008 (the most recent year available) showed St. Cabrini was more than $2.4 million in debt. At a recent meeting with community members, Executive Director Ilze Earner warned that government reimbursement rates were not keeping up with the cost of care for roughly 40 troubled girls who remained at the home. Those girls are expected to be placed elsewhere over the next month.

"Unfortunately, after trying to talk with the Office of Children & Family Services and trying to bring the home into financial viability, it just kept going in the wrong direction," board member Roger Ramjug said.

Ramjug, the story notes, was fostered at St. Cabrini as a boy, and says that despite its problems, the home has done a lot of good for the young people it served:

"It was about the kids," Ramjug said. "They were disturbed, they were wayward, they had family issues — but this home sustained their lives."