Sapling Centers to close in Pike, Floyd Counties

FLOYD, PIKE COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - The Sapling Center locations in Pikeville and Prestonsburg will soon be closing.

Officials told WYMT low enrollment and financial hardships are two of the reasons for shutting them down.

The center is a youth drop-in space and serves as a safe place for young adults ages 14 to 25.

Those who attend the facility tell WYMT they call it a home away from home.

"It was a way for me to find friends and also find stability which is something that I had not had," said Venus Slone. "It feels like that have given us false hope then taking it right away from us."

Slone is worried after hearing news of the centers closing.

"For a lot of people it's a getaway from home-life that isn't talked about," Slone pointed out.

We reached out to the CEO of the Sapling Center's parent company, Kentucky River Community Care.

The CEO, Mary Meade-Mckenzie, released this statement.

"Several months ago Medicaid effectively changed the rates of reimbursement for services that are provided in our Sapling Centers. These changes were significant and far-reaching. While KRCC was dedicated to providing those services and, initially, was able to bear the brunt of those changes, as an agency, can no longer financially bridge the gap between services provided and the cost to deliver those services. Therefore, we examined the services and programs that are least utilized across the agency and had to make some tough choices. This analysis led us to the conclusion that the Pike and Floyd Sapling Centers had the fewest clients and some of the highest costs to operate, compared to other Sapling Centers. We regrettably decided to close these centers but must consider the agency staff, our community, and our clients, as a whole, and often, tough decisions are necessary. All clients who attended the Pike and Floyd Sapling Centers will be offered referrals and transition services to community partners to receive ongoing services. KRCC strives to be a responsible partner in the communities that we serve and to treat all of our clients with the respect and dignity they deserve. We appreciate the passionate response that has been shown by all affected by these closings and welcome all positive and constructive input on ways to move forward to serve the youth in our region."

As of Wednesday, officials have reported a different closing date.

We received another quote from the CEO.

"We will be seeing clients for the last day on September 20th at the current locations. However new information indicates that those programs are ever-evolving and may emerge in a different form. That remains to be seen."

The Prestonsburg facility is where Slone met Abbigaile Stephenson's son.

"He's very comfortable in the Sapling Center because it is an all-inclusive bully-free zone," Stephenson pointed out.

She said the center filled multiple needs for those who attend. After the doors close for good, she said she fears for their lives.

The center offered food, a place to shower with supplies, WiFi, and transportation along with other things a young-adult may want or need.

"There is a youth that is targeted for that center that is losing a second home," said Stephenson. "Young adults will lose their jobs, won't have a place to get deodorant or have a meal that they would normally have in their home away from home."

Both Slone and Stephenson hoped another facility like the Sapling Center will open.

"We really need the community to rally behind them because these kids are our future," Stephenson pointed out.

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