Clients and families wait for answers as Lisbon workshop changes hands

This workshop and others must transition to private firms by 2024

The Robert Bycroft Workshop is changing to a privately run workshop.


LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – Sally Anderson has been the legal guardian of her older sister Peggy for the past seven years. Part of that responsibility is getting Peggy the programming she needs, which until now has been provided through the Columbiana County Board of Developmental Disabilities and its central workshop, near the Robert Bycroft School campus.

A private firm will be taking over the central workshop soon. It’s one of many across Ohio, and the country for that matter, that must transition to private control by 2024 to meet federal Medicaid funding guidelines. The Robert Bycroft School is not impacted by the changes.

Anderson said the change has caused confusion and controversy. She said she is not opposed to the change but would like to know when it is going to happen and how it will impact her sister.

“We did have a meeting a couple of weeks ago to dispel some rumors, which was good, but there are still no definite answers,” Anderson said.

Board Superintendent Bill Devon said despite the rumors, there are no definite dates other than a goal to have all of the county’s workshops transferred to private operation by the end of next year.

The East Liverpool-based Employment Development, Incorporated, which already runs a facility in Calcutta, will be taking over the Central Workshop as well.

“They have to hire staff. They have to train staff. They have to get everything, background check. It’s not an easy process,” Devon said.

Job interviews should begin later this month, but Devon thinks that could take weeks to complete.

A final transition date will still require formal approval by the agency’s board of directors.

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