By the end of the month, One Way Farm will not be looking after abandoned and abused children, a mission it has had since its founding in the mid-1970s.
Instead, the Fairfield non-profit will change its focus and provide support for local foster families.
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“The group home is closing, but One Way Farm Inc. of Fairfield is not closing, and there’s a lot to do in the interim,” said Carl Brown, interim director of One Way Farm.
The group home will close by May 25, and the last couple children are waiting to be placed by in a foster home Butler County Children’s Services.
Brown said the current model of housing children at the facility at 6131 River Road is not sustainable.
Since opening in 1976, One Way Farm has provided temporary shelter and long-term permanent placement for boys and girls as young as 6 years old in two family-style cottages — the Sunrise House for 10 boys and the New Dawn House for 10 girls.
Now, One Way Farm will focus on becoming a foster family community model, similar to Hamilton’s Father’s House, which offers resources for foster families to use.
“After the doors are closed for the group home, then the board can spend more energy on exploring identifying the structure of a foster family community model and working towards that,” Brown said.
One Way Farm has helped thousands of children since its founding by Gerald and Barb Condo. They fed, clothed and sheltered these children, and provided medical care. Barb Condo had led One Way Farm until November, when she stepped down due to health reasons.
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Fairfield Mayor Steve Miller said “it’s sad” to see One Way Farm go away from the mission of helping abused, abandoned and neglected children. He said he had heard countless success stories because of the Farm’s work.
“It just breaks your heart to hear the stories,” he said. “They have done a lot of good for the community. There really is a need for what they’ve done, and they were also very good at what they did.”
Miller said there would be a gap in that type of care “because it’s hard to find and it’s hard to do.”
“It wasn’t for the money. It was all from the heart. It was all about the kids,” he said.
Miller said the city would be available for One Way Farm as it changes directions.
“Hopefully in their new structure, they’ll make an impact. I know whatever they put their minds to, they will do it well,” he said.
Late last week, One Way Farm held a liquidation sale of some of its property, including office equipment, furniture and two pianos.
Because of the change in direction, One Way Farm is also canceling its annual Daylily Festival this year.
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