Manitoba

Treatment unit for at-risk youth set to open in Winnipeg

At-risk youth dealing with addictions and mental health issues can soon find the support they need at a secure treatment facility that will open early next month in Winnipeg.

Facility at Marymound will help youth with addictions, mental health issues

Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross, right, speaks to reporters about a new six-bed care unit at Marymound on Wednesday. (Caroline Barghout/CBC)

At-risk youth with complex needs can soon find the support they need at a safe, secure treatment unit that will open early next month in Winnipeg.

The stabilization facility at Marymound, located on Scotia Street, will help those in the child welfare system who struggle with addictions and mental health problems, Family Services Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross re-announced Wednesday.

"These complex challenges make it very difficult for them to cope in the community and makes them vulnerable to predators," Irvin-Ross said in a news release. The province originally released the plan in November 2014.

"This new facility and program will help youth in care with complex needs cope with those challenges so they can stabilize their lives, rejoin their families, succeed in school and build hope for a better future."

The unit, which can care for up to six youths at a time, will offer "holistic wrap-around programming" to address their mental health needs, Irvin-Ross added.

The program that's running the facility is jointly developed by the province and Marymound, which works with young people in care and families.

Irvin-Ross was joined by Melanie Wight, minister of children and youth opportunities, and Marymound CEO Jay Rodgers during Wednesday's announcement.

Rodgers said there are always children in the CFS system whose needs challenge the system, and he hopes the new unit will provide them with the resources they need.

Part of CFS overhaul

The province's announcement came two days after the one-year anniversary of Tina Fontaine's body being recovered from the Red River in Winnipeg.

The 15-year-old girl's body was found on Aug. 17, 2014, eight days after she was reported missing. She had been in and out of the CFS system in the months prior to her death.

Irvin-Ross said since the Manitoba government announced an overhaul of the province's Child and Family Services system in November, about 120 emergency placement resources have been created for at-risk children and youth.

The province's overhaul aims to apprehend fewer children and keep more of them with their families. It also includes ending the practice of temporarily housing CFS children and youth in Winnipeg hotels.

In addition to the new unit at Marymound, the province is also opening Strong Hearts, a six-bed secured facility for sexually exploited girls that's operated by Project Neechewam.

As well, the government is opening a three-bed facility for adolescent boys with complex needs through REACH Inc.

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