PENTICTON - The re-opening of a youth addiction treatment facility continues to stall in the Similkameen valley as the property’s owners work with the province to restablish new guidelines.
Central City Foundation Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Johnstone says the foundation, which owns the former Portage youth addiction treatment facility known as The Crossing, remain committed to using the facility as a youth addiction treatment centre.
The Crossing, located approximately six kilometres west of Keremeos, closed its doors earlier this year when the operator couldn’t come to terms with the province over funding and staff qualifications.
Johnstone says the foundation continues to work with the provincial health authority and community organizations to find a 'made in B.C. solution' to provide addiction treatment facilities for youth.
She says the ministry of health is still consulting with stakeholders to come up with an enhanced care model for addicted youth and it wasn’t known yet where The Crossing will fit in.
“It’s not moving fast enough for me, but we’re not giving up,” she says. “I’m encouraging speed, but that seems to be the roadblock at this point."
The Crossing is currently being maintained by a caretaker who lives on site, but Johnstone would like to see the facility return to full use as quickly as possible. She says she regularly receives calls from families desperate to find a treatment facility for a family member. Central City consults with 38 community organizations who have all expressed the need for a long term care facility for addicted youth.
“This is a custom facility, available rent-free to the government. We’re interested in having a treatment program in operation there,” she says.
Johnstone says there are currently two lines of thought regarding youth addiction treatment in the province, including one that believes youth can be treated in their own homes, in their own communities.
“Whatever the treatment program is, really good care is needed before and after entering a program. You can’t just plunk them in there,” she says, adding some youth may benefit from an in-home care program, but others won’t. “We need the options.”
A working group has been established since The Crossing’s former operator, Portage, chose to end its contract with the provincial health authority, Ben Hadaway of the Provincial Health Services Authority said in an email.
The working group is looking at what new services may look like, including determining a service model (centralized versus distributed) and a clinical care model that builds on the enhanced model developed for The Crossing while under Portage’s operations. Hadaway said these options are currently under ministry review, adding in the interim, the ministry, the health authority and other health authorities are working to support young people requiring substance use issues.
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