Responding quickly to youth and parents who require assistance is a major challenge for all partners in the youth drug-rehabilitation sector.
Last year, the managers of Portage’s drug addiction rehabilitation program for youth at Lac Écho initiated discussions with counsellors, partners, youth and parents to develop a project aimed at improving access to youth services.
Project development was based on two guiding principles. The first is that each time a youth (or a member of his family) reaches out to a resource, assistance must be provided quickly and in accordance with the youth’s needs (whether that assistance is provided by Portage or a partner); the second is that the person requesting help must be accompanied through every step of the process.
The provision of quicker access to services is based on five premises:
- the availability of numerous doors through which services can be accessed (all doors are open to someone requiring services);
- the promptness of the initial personalized response (the initial contact should take place within no more than 48 hours);
- the shared responsibility of partners (each partner is responsible for supporting the youth who contact them and accompanying them throughout the service path);
- coordination and continuity among partners (ensuring ongoing access in cooperation with community partners);
- the primacy of youths’ needs (providing information on existing alternatives and respecting youths’ choices).
The project yielded conclusive results. Portage has seen a significant increase in the number of youth contacted who:
- made an initial request;
- completed an initial interview;
- were admitted to Portage;
- were referred to a partner.
The project was recognized by Accreditation Canada as an innovative process to provide quicker access to youth services. Read the Accreditation Report