Michelle NashEmc Ottawa West
Date Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
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Francophone youth in need of residential treatment for drug and alcohol abuse will have improved opportunities now that Maison Fraternité's six-bed addition is complete.
The sleek new addition to Maison Fraternité, located at 300 Olmstead Rd. will welcome its first set of youths on Sept. 18. The expansion allows for the centre to offer in-patient care for the first time, beyond the day programs currently available for francophone youth in Ontario.
Executive director Denis Boileau and his staff see the expansion as a way to offer complete care for struggling francophone youth not just in Ottawa, but across the province.
"Imagine being hurt and not being able to express how you feel," Boileau said. "That is what it has been like for francophone youth in English speaking programs. This new residential centre will offer these youth complete care."
The Olmstead centre currently takes youth from the age of 12 to 18 and helps them learn to deal with drug or alcohol addiction by improving self-esteem, addressing concerns that arise in the home and the effects of peer pressure.
The beds will be available for youth who need treatment beyond regular working hours. They will receive around the clock care for up to 60 days of treatment and Boileau said if more treatment is needed, stays could be extended even longer.
Youth who will be checking in have been identified either by their own family doctors or by school counsellors. In Ottawa, Maison Fraternité has counsellors in all the French-Catholic schools. These therapists will determine which youth would benefit from in-patient care.
Each patient will have their own room with a bed, desk and closet. The kitchen and laundry rooms are shared and there are two full bathrooms.
There is also a designated classroom. While staying at the centre, school work will remain a top priority for the youth, who will work with two full-time educators weekly and a part-time educator who will be available on weekends. The school board will provide computers for the classroom at the centre.
"They can't fall behind in their school work," Boileau said. "School will be provided throughout their stay."
It will not be an easy ride for the youth staying at the centre, they will be expected to clean their rooms, washroom and common rooms as well as do their own laundry. They will also have to prepare their own breakfast and lunch. Dinner will be provided by the centre.
Boileau said the residential treatment centre's budget of $850,000 is based on five beds. The sixth bedroom was not included in the original funding. This bedroom was made possible by the architect and Boileau working together to save space.
"We wanted the extra bed just in case, for both a potential growth in the need in the future or in the upcoming year," Boileau said. "We were fortunate that the architect made it work."
Each bedroom is only about three by two metres, but feature large windows.
"We wanted the entire space to be flooded with light," Boileau said.
Funding for the sixth bed is not secured and Boileau said he will be seeking funding from the city.
The 325-square-metre expansion was made possible through Project S.T.E.P., an initiative that tackles drug and alcohol abuse issues in Ottawa. Currently, youth from Ottawa requiring treatment must travel to facilities located either in Northern Ontario, Quebec or the United States.
Project S.T.E.P. is possible through support from the province, the Champlain Local Health Integration Network, Health Canada, the Sens Foundation, the Cowan Foundation, Ottawa police, Ottawa Public Health, the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre and Ottawa's four school boards.
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