Eau Claire Academy to close

Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 7:08 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - After 55 years, the Eau Claire Academy is closing its doors Nov. 12.

The adolescent mental health treatment facility will no longer provide in-patients long-term care. It’s day school will remain open.

It’s closing because it doesn’t have enough staff.

The academy’s interim director, Chuck Anger, said there’s only enough support staff to adequately care for about 20 kids. To remain financially viable, it needs more than 30 residents.

“A lot of it is our youth care staff that work directly with the kids,” he said. “Those are individuals that often times are studying in the humanities and are looking at gaining experience so it’s a good part-time job for students.”

Anger said when fully staffed, the treatment center has space for 55 kids ages 10-18. Right now it can only serve about 20, which is far short of the number it needs to afford clinic staff like child psychologists.

“All of those costs are bore out by capacity,” he said. “We have a break even capacity and that’s in the 30s.”

Anger added mental health issues aren’t going away. Before announcing its plans to close, the academy was receiving around 20 referrals weekly of kids who need help.

“We have to take a look at this system as a whole and there just aren’t the resources out there and that’s a big part of the issue,” he said. “It really is unfortunate.”

What upset Anger and his staff the most, however, is they won’t be able to keep helping kids going through a crisis.

“There are a lot of kids out there in need of this care,” Anger said. “Unfortunately, we just can’t deliver on that right now.”

He said about of third of the academy’s residents come from western Wisconsin. The others come from across the Badger State as well as from other states in the Midwest.

He added some current residents will be placed in other facilities. Others will go home.