Woodland Hills in Duluth Forced to Close For Financial Reasons
After serving Duluth area youth and families for 112 years, Woodland Hills has announced they will be forced to close due to an " insurmountable financial burden". The closure will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, July 2, 2021.
President/CEO Leslie Chaplin made the surprise announcement June 14 on their Facebook page, stating in part:
Unfortunately, due to extraordinarily high fixed costs, the State’s inaction on rate adjustments and the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the East Bethel facility and The Hills faced an insurmountable financial burden. We have pursued every avenue available to us to find a viable financial solution, but time and our options have run out and we must close the facility.
This is an unfortunate outcome that no one wanted and a devastating blow to children’s mental health services in Minnesota. Our focus now is to ensure the children in our care are transitioned in the best possible manner to new placements that will meet their needs. The dedicated staff at The Hills will continue to provide quality care throughout the transition.
The East Bethel facility had already closed it's doors in June 11, 2021 due to similar financial reasons.
Chaplin goes on to say that their community programs, including their Neighborhood Youth Services and day treatment sites, will continue to operate for the time being, but they are looking new operators for these programs. The goal is to find new operators prior to the July 2 closing date.
This is such sad news for the Duluth area youth and families that count on the important services that Woodland Hills provided for so long. It seem obvious that there is something wrong with how the state of Minnesota has set up costs and funding for facilities such as this and one wonders what it will take for someone to look into the situation.