Sweetser will close its Bangor and Belfast group homes later this year.
In this Feb. 24, 2022, file photo, the sign that marks the entrance to the Sweetser residential facility in Belfast. Credit: Abigail Curtis / BDN

Sweetser will close its Bangor and Belfast group homes later this year.

The nonprofit mental health care provider announced Friday morning it intends to stop providing adult developmental services in the two cities, saying the programs have been running at a loss for years.

“This program is no longer financially sustainable given the current reimbursement rates and staffing difficulties,” said Sweetser President and CEO Jayne Van Bramer, who took the helm of the agency in June. “This shift will enable us to refocus our efforts on our core mental and behavioral health programs Sweetser is known for in every corner of our state; providing support to nearly 20,000 children and adults each year.”

The group homes serve adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities and give them the opportunity to live in a community setting.

Sweetser began providing services for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities in 2017 for clients affected by bankruptcy proceedings against Getchell Agency, which Sweetser acquired in 2018 for $2.7 million.

“The Developmental Services team has worked tirelessly to build a strong program and provide the very best care possible,” said Melissa Camire, Sweetser’s senior director of developmental services. “We’ve been proud to act as a provider of these critical services and are doing everything we can to support our impacted staff and clients during this transition.”

The move will affect 45 people currently served by Sweetser, which is working with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies to ensure they continue to receive care. Sweetser will continue to provide developmental services to people through other programs, such as its children residential and crisis services.

This is the latest program cut the agency has made in recent years. In 2019, Sweetser announced it was ending its clinic-based therapy, offered at five locations from York to Lewiston, affecting about 450 people.