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Uspiritus, Newly Create Youth Services Agency, Won't Close Facilities

No facilities are expected to close now that Kentucky youth services agencies Bellewood and Brooklawn have merged,but some staff members may lose jobs.The new entity, called Uspiritus, will provide  foster care, counseling and psychiatric treatment. The agencies are also partnered with Jefferson County Public Schools and offer alternative education programs.Bellewood and Brooklawn's consolidation -- announced officially on Thursday -- creates one of the state’s largest and most comprehensive youth services agencies.The two agencies operated in 80 Kentucky counties annually, have similar $11 million budgets and combined have nearly 300 staff members.The merged entity will have a $23-million budget and serve more than 1,100 children and families, the new agency said.No facilities will close anywhere in Kentucky, said  Mary-Kate Poling, the former Brooklawn president and now president of Uspiritus.But she said the agency will have to cut costs -- and that may mean eliminating some redundant staff members.Uspiritus, which will serve people from infant age to 22, has campuses in the Louisville area, plus locations in Lexington, Bowling Green, Owensboro and Paducah.Uspiritus officials said the merger makes them more efficient, but fundraising also was a concern.Before the merger, the two agencies weren't necessarily competing with each other, but they weren't separately able to get as much funds in donations, Poling said.“Donors were saying, 'There are so many nonprofits out there, you've got to start to work together,'" Poling said. "We saw that this was an opportunity to put our two programs together, be more efficient and make the dollars go back to the kids.”

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