June 10, 2003
For immediate release
Premier Announces Establishment of Child and Youth Developmental Health Centre
Health and Social Services
This facility will become part of the provincial Health and Social Services System, focusing on assessment, treatment, case planning and residential support for high-needs children and youth. It is anticipated that the centre will also provide secure assessment provisions, when proclaimed as part of the Child Protection Act.
"By establishing a child and youth developmental health centre here in Tyne Valley, our government is not only supporting the ongoing sustainability of the existing facility, but more importantly enhancing our existing capacity to support children, youth and their families on PEI," said Premier Pat Binns. "This announcement also reflects our government's commitment to rural communities."
The Child and Youth Developmental Health Centre is designated as a "child care facility" under section 47 of the Child Protection Act and will be used to provide a multi-service site including treatment and residency services to high-needs children and youth.
"At all times, but especially in times of stress, children and families need support from government, and from the community as a whole," said Health and Social Services Minister Jamie Ballem. "We have been working together with our Health Regions to meet this need. Today we are enhancing our capacity to meet the needs of high-risk children, youth and their families. This new Developmental Health Centre will allow us to support and, when necessary, treat children here at home in our province."
Demand for youth custody has declined since 1998/99. This is consistent with national trends and the greater emphasis on community alternatives. Justice positions have been re-deployed to community programs such as probation, community youth workers, outreach workers and youth justice workers.
"With the proclamation of the Youth Criminal Justice Act on April 1, 2003, we have experienced a shift in emphasis from custody to community sentences," said Attorney General Jeff Lantz. "The Youth Criminal Justice Act focuses on prevention and early intervention, something that is also a key component of this new centre."
The Child and Youth Developmental Health Centre will be a sister program to the Provincial Adolescent Group Home (PAGH) and will provide child care services consistent with their policies and operations.
The Tyne Valley Centre is another important step in implementing the province's Strategic Plan for Health and Social Services, which emphasizes early intervention and healthy child development.