Stephens County Youth Services closed indefinitely

DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) - Stephens County Youth Services has shut down indefinitely on Friday. The center offers many counseling services for families in Stephens, Jefferson and Cotton Counties.

Doing too much, for too little, for too long said the center's board chairman Joe Henderson.

"It was just one of those things where we saw no light at the end of the tunnel. We didn't even see a glimmer of hope," Henderson said.

Henderson describes the mood at that meeting last Wednesday when they decided to close down the center.

"It was not without regret and without tears," Henderson said.

Henderson said the center has been suffering with state budget cuts and changes in state policies.

Like less funding for youth shelters as the state recently changed to a foster care-focused system for children.

"That's nobody's fault other than what's the state wanted to do," Henderson said. "I'm hoping that they are hoping that they've done the right thing. But that cost us some funding there."

Henderson said they just didn't have enough funds to pay their employees who keep this place running.

The board wanted to stop, and come out of this without debt, which led to the abrupt closing.

"Instead of going deeper in that hole, we've chose to stop the bleeding altogether," Henderson said.

State Representative Marcus McEntire has been responding to messages and phone calls since the closing announcement came out on Thursday.

"There are people calling all over the place calling saying how can we help how can we figure this out," McEntire said.

He said he also wants to look more into what the center's financial issues were because the center's funding source was only cut 2/3 of a percent from last year and 2 percent across-the-board cuts in the fiscal year 2018 budget bill shouldn't be enough to shut down a center that has gone through so much.

"To me it's just smelled like there is something more," McEntire said. "Because we've dealt with these proclamations from the Governor for a long time so it has to be something more."

Now, the employees packed up, sorted through files and alerted clients. But come Monday they will be searching for a new job as their clients search for a new center to serve them.

Below is a list of resources the Stephens County Youth Services as listed for those who need help:

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