WOODFORDS FAMILY SERVICES ASSUMES OPERATION OF CLOSING EASTERSEALS CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER
Westbrook, ME – Woodfords Family Services is pleased to announce it is assuming operation of Easterseals Maine’s Child Development Center for children with special needs when the program closes on Thursday, June 15th. Woodfords will take on the operation of the Portland-based program beginning Friday, June 16th, preserving all services for 43young children and their families, as well as hiring 23 former Easterseals employees.
“Early intervention is critical to ensuring young children with autism and other special needs reach their highest potential,” said Mark Eves, Executive Director of Woodfords Family Services. “Woodfords is thrilled that no child will lose services at this critical point in their lives and that we can continue to support all Easterseals families through this transition.”
Easterseals announced late last month it was closing its Child Development Center, an all-inclusive preschool serving children ages 3-5 including those with special needs, located at 125 Presumpscot Street, after 10 years of operation due to ongoing fiscal issues. Easterseals Maine will continue to provide military and veterans services, targeted case management and counseling/clinical services.
“The decision to close our preschool was very difficult and driven by ongoing fiscal issues,” said Kate Quinn-Finlay, the director of the Child Development Center. “In making this decision, our top priority was to ensure our families had options for continued services with another provider. We are grateful to have found such a willing partner in Woodfords Family Services.”
Representatives from Child Development Services (CDS), a state entity which refers children for early intervention services, contacted Woodfords in May to assess the agency’s capacity to provide services for children in the Easterseals program.
“CDS thanks the team at Woodfords for all of their efforts to help avoid the potential disaster of Easterseals’ closure and the impact it would have had on the children and families which CDS serves,” said Roy Fowler, CDS State Director. “CDS’ partnership with Woodfords is highly valued and, as usual, Woodfords stepped up when a need arose.”
Woodfords will continue to operate the program at the Presumpscot Street location through the summer until the agency relocates the program to its Westbrook campus in the fall.
“The Easterseals staff we are bringing along in this transition are well trained and provide high quality, evidenced-based services that are effective in supporting children to reach their individual goals,” said Eves. “They will be an excellent fit with our current staff and program model.”
Woodfords Family Services is a nonprofit organization committed to the support and inclusion of people with special needs and their families in Maine communities. Each year, Woodfords provides direct services to more than 1,500 children, youth and adults with autism, developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities and/or mental health diagnoses in 11 Maine counties, while providing training and other support to hundreds of professionals, schools and organizations. The agency currently operates three Early Childhood Preschool programs for young children with autism and related disabilities, serving more than 150 families each year in Westbrook, Topsham and Waterville.