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New resource for children in ministry care opening in Vernon

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May 20, 2016 - 6:30 PM

VERNON - A way to provide care for children and youth with complex care needs in Vernon could serve as a model for the rest of the province.

The new residential facility, officially announced this week by the Ministry of Children and Family Development, will focus on young people with complex emotional, mental, behavioural and health challenges.

The North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society will run the five-bed facility for the next year, after which the province will evaluate the resource and determine if it can be used elsewhere in B.C.

Jan Shumay, the executive director of the North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society, says it’s an exciting partnership.

"We recognize the importance of a collaborative, dynamic and multi-level approach when working with children, youth and their families, and we are committed to providing the best possible supports in our short-term residential program — supports that are based on each client's unique needs, including past trauma and other issues that affect their daily behaviour and attitudes,” Shumay says in a release.

The resource will be for youth aged seven to 18 in ministry care and will “offer services that are sensitive and appropriate to the culture and identity of each child or youth, while also ensuring a strong focus on the successful reintegration of each young person back into their communities,” according to a description from the ministry.

Workers trained to deal with extreme behaviours will help calm and stabilize the youth and teach them, and their foster parents, behaviour management techniques to use at home, states a media release. Staff will also have access to psychologists and psychiatric staff on an as needed basis should behaviours escalate to a point where more intensive help is needed.

Right now, Prince George is the only other community where this model is being tested.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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