Adolescent center on next council agenda

  • Contributed County Councilmember KipuKai Kuali‘i

LIHU‘E — Last March, the state Department of Health took over the Adolescent Treatment and Healing Center as a COVID-19 isolation facility, then the county canceled a service-provider’s contract, and the focus of the building’s use shifted.

The topic of the ATHC will be on the Kaua‘i County Council’s agenda Wednesday, but during an executive session, which is closed to the public.

Councilmembers KipuKai Kuali‘i and Bernard Carvalho Jr. requested the briefing from members of the administration and the Office of the County Attorney, “out of a deep concern for our ATHC returning to its original, intended purpose as agreed to with the land donor, the community, the state and other partners,” Kuali‘i said in a statement Thursday.

“Since we haven’t yet received an update on the status of the Adolescent Treatment and Healing Center in this new term, Councilmember Carvalho and I requested this briefing from members of the administration and Office of the County Attorney,” Kuali‘i explained.

“Though we are aware of its current use as a COVID-19-isolation facility, it’s our hope to gain a better understanding of the details involved in what will hopefully be a transition back to its intended use as an ATHC,” Kuali‘i said.

The integrated treatment and healing center was a priority for the late Mayor Bryan Baptiste and then-mayor Carvalho’s administration. The center’s initial purpose was to provide long-term care and outpatient treatment for adolescents with mental-health or substance-abuse disorders.

“The whole purpose of the center is to heal the troubled youth with the land and heal at home with their family,” Carvalho said. The county does not have an on-island facility of this nature and, often, youth must seek treatment off-island, sometimes on the mainland.

Carvalho said he and Kuali‘i have met with various county departments to discuss the center. The executive session, Carvalho said, is to lay out a few different options on the table with the full council that have the support of nonprofits and community stakeholders he could not name.

“We’re trying to get (everything) clarified. The executive session will place everything on the table,” Carvalho said. “The health and wellness of our community is so important. We believe we can move forward with the Adolescent Treatment and Healing Center.”

How we got here

In 2018, the county broke ground on a 5.8-acre plot from Grove Farm in Kapaia to be the first on-island facility of its kind in over two decades, to replace an adolescent treatment facility that was destroyed by Hurricane ‘Iniki in 1992. In October 2019, the county awarded the contract for services to Hope Treatment Services, an O‘ahu-based, mental-health-care provider.

The county claimed that from mid-January to February 2020, there seemed to be little progress toward opening the center from Hope Treatment, which the provider refuted. In March, the facility was commandeered for pandemic use as a potential place to quarantine or isolate individuals.

The same day Hope Treatment asked when it could come back to continue, the county canceled the contract.

Friday, Stanley Perpignan of Hope Treatment said he has reached out to the county, offering to return, but has not heard back.

“Whenever the county wants, we’re willing to finish the process we started,” Perpignan said.

These contract issues occurred while the county had moved operational control of the ATHC from the County Housing Agency to the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney “to align juvenile-justice opportunities with diversion emphasis,” Mayor Derek Kawakami wrote in the May 7, 2020 supplemental budget memo to the council.

However, since the facility is still being held as a quarantine zone, Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar said his office has not been able to have access to the site. It’s been frustrating, Kollar said, but the goal to get the facility open to help at-risk youth is still there.

Part of what caused community uproar was the shift in focus and lack of commitment to the original purpose of the center, which was to house on-island youth, Carvalho noted.

County Managing Director Michael Dahilig said that, at this time, “The Adolescent Treatment and Healing Center serves as a crucial tool in the fight against COVID-19 and keeping our island safe, mainly as an isolation facility for those who contracted COVID-19.”

However, the administration remains “committed to seeing through the center’s original intent to assist Kaua‘i youth with drug issues, and we will work with our prosecutor’s office to see that end achieved.”

The Kaua‘i County Council will meet Wednesday, March 10 at 8:30 a.m.

  1. USAF Brat March 7, 2021 6:33 am Reply

    Adolescent treatment center, on next COK council agenda! Prosecuting Attorney Kollar-aka Kealoha/Rappozo/Todd/Der-IKA minion pulling strings of corporate collusion to turn it all into office spaces instead of staying put next to KPD office hallways. This site never WAS intended to fill the adolescent needs, only those of the hui o Slithering snakes that think we dont know their ON-going agenda! Narcissists are widely active! Flaunting new gucci wear and a Go-pro 9 for starters, millions and millions of dollars paying off their home mortgages AND the “agenda” for more of the same, while at the same time closing, then kicking out homeless park encampments! Guess what too, FBI Kenji REsigned without finishing his job that could cause these kinds of Cards to fall into a rabbit hole. Any rabbit hole will do. Perhaps Z or PMRF has an underground DUMB that CAN tidy up the obvious!

  2. Imua44 March 7, 2021 7:06 am Reply

    Executive session is a secret meeting. Executive sessions are to be used in very few cases, employment or lawsuits. Kauai has been hiding behind these exec sessions on a regular basis. It is time to review this abuse and let Kauai know what is really going on.

  3. Roy Totoi March 7, 2021 8:34 am Reply

    You put your right foot in
    You take your right foot out
    You put your right foot in
    And you shake it all about
    You do the hokey pokey
    And you turn yourself around
    That’s what it’s all about

    Looks like the county and PA playing hokey pokey.

  4. Rev Dr Malama March 7, 2021 10:11 am Reply

    With a good number of hotels now open and COVID-19 BUBBLE policy in place it’s time to restore sanity and commitment to our youth and family needs…
    Goals are mott at this time, it’s a matter of contract obligations and integrity….
    We need solutions and jobs for our local people to prevent further damage not another asset to the state criminal justice system!
    Hawai’Ian people were previously healthy before the government took away all the preventive care and extended family….
    One place to re-education is operating at the International level @

  5. Uncleaina March 7, 2021 10:21 am Reply

    Nah this is going just as predicted. Sure everyone wants drug treatment for youth, but this entire plan is doomed to fail. The problem is getting funding because the only way this place can function is via treating kids who HAVE INSURANCE that covers in patient drug treatment. Most people don’t have this. Never mind that they gave the contract to a firm based on Oahu with no experience. Never mind that the firm basically got paid to go nothing. Sorry, but until they figure out how to make it work financially, it needs to be repurposed.

  6. I saw a Vampire once March 7, 2021 2:15 pm Reply

    I don’t know about you. But this story spells out racism. Kipu Kai is not white. He’s brown or black. We’re all adults. But as you know, the guy will not fare well with the white community with money. Too not successful. Same on Carvalho jr. EEOC won’t help. Civil rights act 1964

  7. Haley Beaver March 7, 2021 7:59 pm Reply

    Follow the blind. This is so Kauai government that is despicable.
    Bunch of under qualified plantation family members keeping the power to themselves.

    Federal grants and HMSA quest should cover the costs.

    The Oahu hustlers found a way to trick the buffoons representing Kauai.

    Then the Kauai buffoons said wait a minute maybe we can have a international food court so everyone can feast. They all salivated but no one brought the food lol.

  8. USAF Brat March 8, 2021 8:03 am Reply

    So, the circus is continuing to use collusion to make their way around the evil intent. We know who you ALL are and we’ve been paying attention REtroactively for 60-years. It is time for everyone to fess up and get your act together, cuz your agenda died and it is definitely GAME OVER time to take you on a Free Ride! You all know what that means, but in this case, you get you make your own sisil lei!

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