Catholic Social Services (CSS) of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will close two of its locations in Chester and Delaware counties, the Archdiocese announced, Friday, Jan. 4.
A statement said the restructuring plan that resulted in the closures is “aimed at more effectively utilizing its limited resources to support those in need” in the five-county Archdiocese. The plan affects the Community-Based Services division of CSS, which operates outreach sites in each county. Of the division’s 317 full-time employees, 13 were laid off as a result of the restructuring.
The plan calls for the West Grove Family Service Center to close and a “partnership” to be formed with Misión Santa Maria Madre de Dios, an outreach program at St. Rocco Parish in Avondale, Chester County.
Also, the Springfield, Delaware County center will close and merge with the Chester City Family Service Center in order to provide more staff to serve the poorest community in Delaware County.
In addition to the enhanced services at the Chester site, a new partnership with the St. Katharine Drexel Evangelization Center is expected to expand the existing food and clothing distribution efforts, and extend the literacy program for more residents. The evangelization center is an outreach program of St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Chester.
“Although these changes will be difficult, especially for those who are directly affected by the staff reductions and mergers, this plan will allow CSS to continue to provide services to those who need it most throughout the Archdiocese,” said Auxiliary Bishop John McIntyre, who oversees Catholic Social Services. “Amid these changes, what remains constant is our unwavering commitment to continue the works of the Lord Jesus, by affirming, assisting and advocating for individuals, families and communities in need.”
The statement said the CSS board of directors intends the reorganization to make “the best use of limited resources by achieving greater efficiencies and sharpening the focus of social service delivery to those people most in need of assistance.”
The plan also “features a strong emphasis on developing partnerships with successful parish outreach programs throughout the region, a viable alternative approach that leverages CSS support of grassroots local efforts.”
The restructuring positions CSS for the future, the statement said, enabling the agency to better deal with challenges and “long-term program growth and development elsewhere” in its system.
CSS offices in Bucks and Montgomery counties will continue to serve their communities with large food cupboard programs organized by volunteers working in close collaboration with CSS staff.
Information and referral assistance in the counties will now be provided through a central “CSS Helpline” (267-331-2490) which has been in use in Philadelphia over the past year.
Philadelphia will continue to be served by CSS offices in the Northeast, North and Southwest sections of the city, with social services supporting healthy family development, homelessness prevention and emergency food assistance.