Female quarters slated for Caribbean Haven

Female clients at Caribbean Haven Residential Centre in Frank Sound will soon have the use of a new residential unit.

Construction on the six-bedroom treatment unit is scheduled to begin by the end of March with a completion date in early October of this year.

When finished, the unit will provide living accommodations for six females as well as having its own kitchen and dining room, a room for group activities and recreation.

The proposed single storey building with timber frame roof structure, and floor area of 2,300 square feet, will be located to the north of the existing main building.

Work will also include external works of a car park, driveways and sidewalks.

Since the opening of Caribbean Haven Residential Centre in 2000, the centre has provided intensive treatment in a co-educational setting to males and females who abuse substances.

But of recently it was found that women who enter Caribbean Haven the impact and patterns of substance abuse were different than those of the men.

Even though the centre was attempting to provide female treatment it was recognised that the co-educational setting was not the best for treating female clients, a recent review of the services offered by the Department of Counselling Services revealed.

According to the Department of Counselling Services, many women may in fact have been re-traumatised by their experience.

Treatment for women needs to be developed to place the distinct needs of the woman at the forefront and to recognise a woman’s differing background characteristics and personal history.

It should address women’s situations, needs and values, and allow women to establish connections and trust with one another in order for them to be successful in their recovery, the Department said.

Opportunities will still be afforded for male and female clients to participate in joint informational sessions, and to practice the skills necessary to reintegrate into the wider community.

A gender-specific programme will however afford women a safe therapeutic environment in which to process their specific issues.

Brief history

After a brief closure from slight damages sustained from Hurricane Ivan, the centre re-opened to accept a new intake of clients in late October 2004.

At present there are 15 male clients at the facility overseen by eight counsellors who work across two shifts, seven days per week.

In addition, there are four night managers who provide coverage during the night shifts, as well as auxiliary staff who provide support services.

The Centre is currently operated under the guidance of Clinical Supervisor Mitchell Ebanks.

At the present there are three levels of care available to clients. There is a non-medical withdrawal management unit, which provides clients with access to a safe recovery environment. There is also the residential treatment programme, which provides individualised treatment for males over the age of 18 years. Additionally, clients are immersed into the community of residents where a hierarchical structure is established to assist clients to re-order their lives and implement change in their behaviours and attitudes.

While there is a cost for treatment, clients are not denied access to treatment if they are unable to pay. Instead, the Department of Counselling Services works with clients to make repayments towards the cost of their treatment programme.

The length of the treatment stay is individualised according to the clients’ treatment needs. On average, clients remain in treatment for approximately 12 weeks.