Support grows for treatment center

LIHUE — Tighter budgets and adolescent treatment centers were topics of the Kauai Police Commission meeting on Friday.

Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr. briefed the commission about his goals for efficient management in county departments. He outlined priorities where to incorporate cuts wherever possible.

Commission Chair Charles Iona cautioned the county on how it addresses cuts to public safety.

“We understand that we need to do more with less but with the police you have to look at the safety of community but also the safety of officers that protect us,” Iona said.

Theresa Koki, coordinator of the Life’s Choices Kauai, updated the commissioners on the efforts to build the county’s first adolescent treatment and healing center. The inpatient facility would have 10 beds. Koki said a facility for boys and girls would be built on Grove Farm land at the Maalo site near Hanamaulu, after the primary Isenberg site met strong resistance.

She said there are 11 youth off-island who are scheduled for inpatient care. Eight are in treatment and three more are being held in detention until there is bed space for them.

The average cost for inpatient treatment is $460 per day. Koki said that savings for prevention of adult addicts can be up to $60,000 annually.

Iona said he supports the treatment center but has concerns about security. The center ensures youth are not out in the community until they are ready, but safeguards are needed, he said.

“I am all for this program and I hope and pray that many more out there who hear us today will get on that bandwagon,” Iona said.

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