News Release Archive

The province's treatment system for children with behavioural and
emotional problems will become much more family and community
oriented, Community Services Minister John MacEachern announced

The range of out-of-home placements will be increased over the
next couple of years, with a greater focus on early support for
families, more specialized foster care, and regional placement
options that will allow children to maintain contacts with their
families and communities.

Recommendations for the changes were included in a report,
completed earlier this year and entitled Too Good to Lose that
reviewed placement resources across the province.

"The focus on early, community based response to children was a
keynote of that report which involved hundreds of people who work
in or have been affected by the system. Mr. MacEachern said, "It
also makes a great deal of sense, that any treatment will be more
effective if we begin earlier, before children are seriously
damaged, and if the treatment involves their family and community
-- the people they trust and are most comfortable with."

"While most children can benefit from a foster care or group home
placement, a few Nova Scotian youths require treatment that is
more intrusive and costly, because of the severity of their
problems, or because they would endanger themselves or others.
Therefore, we will be using the building in Truro that now houses
the Nova Scotia Residential Centre as a secure treatment centre
for the most seriously affected children. The establishment of
this facility will make Nova Scotia only the third province that
has secure treatment for youth," the minister said.

The need for secure treatment has been flagged by child welfare
experts and Family Court judges. Secure treatment is used only
after other less intrusive measures have failed, and with
children who could endanger themselves or others.

"Young people would remain in the secure setting for short
periods of time, until their behaviour could be managed in an
open setting such as a group home. The Department of Community
Services is working closely with the Departments of Health,
Justice, and Education as well as child welfare agencies, to
design an effective treatment model for these most vulnerable of
our young people -- and protect them and the community," Mr.
MacEachern said.

The Residential Centre, which currently operates at a cost of
$3.5 million with a staff of 55, will close in June, and the
children living there will be moved to more appropriate
placements closer to their home communities.

Tenders will be called in May for renovations to modify the
building for its role as specialized secure treatment for young
people who now are either sent out of province, or who are unable
to receive the most appropriate treatment. The new centre will
accommodate approximately 15 young people. Currently, nine
children are in placements outside of Nova Scotia, at an annual
cost of approximately $1 million.

The new secure treatment centre will be ready by early next year.
Some of the employees of the Residential Centre will qualify for
placement in positions in the new centre. The operating budget
would be approximately $3.5 million.


Contact: Department of Community Services  902-424-4326

trp                      Feb. 27, 1997 - 2:05 p.m.