LOUISVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Citing a decrease in the number of referrals from the state, Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children leaders have announced nine staff layoffs on two campuses.
In an Aug. 7 memo to employees, KBHC President Bill Smithwick wrote, “The loss of these jobs is a result in a decrease of referrals from the commonwealth of Kentucky.”
He said reasons for the reduced number of referrals include new placement strategies by the Kentucky Cabinet for Families and Children, the KBHC’s hiring standards which are being challenged in court and the design of the agency’s available programs.
Smithwick said the state has placed approximately 5,000 children with relatives, significantly reducing the number of children referred to private childcare providers.
He said the KBHC’s policy against hiring homosexual staff members also is a factor but “that’s not the real reason referrals have dropped recently.”
“There still are social workers who won’t refer to us but that’s nothing new,” he added.
Vickie Grassman, KBHC communications director, said the recent layoffs include five staff members on the Spring Meadows campus and four at Glen Dale. She said the agency currently is operating three of six cottages at Spring Meadows and two of six at Glen Dale, serving a total of 50 children on the two campuses.
Smithwick said the reduction in staff was an effort to “get our personnel in line with the number of referrals we’re receiving. It’s a matter of managing resources.
“This is not the closure of the program,” he added, noting that referrals typically increase in the fall.