CHELSEA — Spurwink, a nonprofit that provides behavior and mental health services to children and adults, is closing two children’s residential care locations in Chelsea because of workforce and funding challenges. 

Spurwink plans to close two children’s residential care locations on the Chelsea campus and around 61 employees will be affected, according to the Department of Labor. The Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday that the facilities are expected to close June 30.

Spurwink offers programs for people with intellectual disabilities, substance use disorder, foster care services, among other services, like serving as a contracted service for school districts that can’t provide a student’s special service with the staff at hand. 

The Department of Labor received notice April 24 of Spurwink’s plan to close. 

The special purpose private school on the Chelsea campus is not affected, said Kristen Farnham, the vice president of legal affairs and advancement at Spurwink.  

“We are working with the Department of Health and Human Services and other stakeholders on appropriate placements for the impacted clients,” she said. 


Farnham credited the workforce and funding challenges to the closure of the location. 

Spurwink is a nonprofit agency that brought in $74.6 million in revenue according to its 990 tax filing from 2023 and had expenses around $73.8 million. In the previous year’s filing, Spurwink brought in $80 million in revenue and had around $78.5 in expenses. Around 80% of the revenue is from program services. 

Spurwink CEO Eric Meyers told the Kennebec Journal in 2017 that, even then, costs associated with their programs have increased while, in many case, public funding has remained stagnant.

The nonprofit opened its Chelsea location over 20 years ago but created a campus in 2017 with a new building and the renovation of an existing building. At the time leaders said the program needed more space for students with autism and intellectual disabilities as well as to deal with an increase in the need for programs fueled by the opioid epidemic. The expanded Chelsea campus added residential dormitories for students while expanding the education center and adding around 50 jobs.

Officials at Spurwink said they will help employees find positions at other Spurwink locations across the state.

DHHS is aware of the closure, said Lindsay Hammes, press secretary for the department. 

“We recognize the impact of this on Spurwink staff and children and families in need of care, and the Office of Behavior Health is working with Spurwink to support care coordination for children and youth impacted by the closure,” she said in a statement Wednesday. 

The Department of Labor is offering its Rapid Response services to impacted workers, which helps highlight important information when laid off, like unemployment insurance or other health insurance options. 

Spurwink officials did not respond to requests for comment on the closure, on when the two schools will officially close, how many students are affected and what services were offered at the two schools.

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