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Families & staff anxious over Midland-based developmental service layoffs, program closures

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Due to financial pressures and a lack of enhanced provincial funding, the CLH developmental support services will be laying off dozens of employees.

CLH DSS will lay off 32 employees and cut group home programming at its two locations, Beacon and Pineview.

The closure has both families and staff concerned about the unknown.

In Midland, the Stamant family waits for answers as they learn that local group homes and developmental programming for their son will be cut.

"We are at that point where we got nothing left to give, and he deserves more," Tina Stamant, whose son lives with a disability.

Stamant's 36-year-old son Zachary has been accessing services from CLH DSS for years and has been on a waitlist for group home placement.

"Development Services Ontario is our only option. If we don't have that, we have nothing. We don't go to the nearest corner store to get what we need. We're all stuck at home," she explained.

"We're seeing the closure of what is referred to as a dual diagnosis and transitional rehabilitation housing program. It's a forensic step-down unit from Waypoint, and it's the only one like it in the entire province, and the second one is a behaviour treatment home," said Dean Johnson, CEO of CLH DSS.

The organization is running a $500,000 deficit forecasted to be more than a million in the year ahead. Johnson says the organization warned the province that layoffs loomed without help but were told no.

Nathalie Bedard's son has autism and is placed at the Pineview group home. She says families like hers have been left in the dark.

"We don't know if the group home he ends up in will have clinical support or if it will have suitable placement; we have no idea," said Bedard.

Midland Mayor Bill Gordon called the move concerning and said the programs are vital to supporting those who cannot live on their own.

"My concern is that people who are discharged out of some of these programs will have nowhere else to live - they're in the program for a reason because they can't be managed easily at home, and they will become homeless and likely stay in our community and put even more pressure on a system that already under pressure."

CTV News contacted the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services for comment and did not receive a response.

Layoffs are expected to take place on July 26.

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