Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023 |
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LIHU‘E — A nonprofit is vying to fulfill the mission of the county’s Adolescent Treatment Center for Healing.
Grove Farm Company announced the nonprofit, Kaua‘i Adolescent Treatment Center for Healing, last week, as a newly-formed organization to oversee the operations and management of the Adolescent Treatment and Healing Center on Ma‘alo Road in Kapaia.
The nonprofit combines leadership and partners with Hawai‘i Health Services Corporation Kaua’i Region, the state Department of Health, state Department of Education, County of Kaua’i and Grove Farm.
“This team never gave up on the intended use and the commitment to the community,” the announcement said. “Instead, they worked tirelessly over the past nine months to secure the funding, to develop the operating model, and to secure and confirm the many partners needed to successfully assist adolescents through their healing journey.”
The 5.8-acre parcel the Adolescent Treatment and Healing Center is built on was donated by Grove Farm in February 2017 to the County of Kaua‘i “solely for use for adult and adolescent health-care purposes, unless (Grove Farm) provide written consent to a change in use,” according to the deed.
The treatment and healing center was a priority of the late Mayor Bryan Baptiste and then-mayor Bernard Carvalho’s administrations. The center’s initial purpose was to provide long-term care and outpatient treatment for adolescents with mental-health or substance-abuse disorders.
The center, which never became fully operational, broke ground in 2018 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, but claimed there seemed to be little progress toward opening the center, which the provider refuted.
Last week, an attorney for Hope Treatment Services filed a civil complaint in the Fifth Circuit, citing breach of contract and loss of revenue and profits from the county.
In March 2020, the facility was commandeered for pandemic use as a potential place to quarantine or isolate individuals, which it remains today.
The 2017 deed stipulates that if the county were to not use the facility in its dedicated capacity for two years, “the premises shall immediately and without re-entry revert” to Grove Farm.
Grove Farm seeks to have the land reverted and then lease it to KATCH for $1 per year.
Mayor Derek Kawakami’s Chief of Staff Sarah Blane said the administration’s intention continues to be getting the facility available for substance-abuse needs. However, the county has “no intention to return the facility to the private entity without cause, particularly given approximately $8 million in taxpayer investment to construct the building.”
Earlier this year, state officials, with community and county partners, announced $1.3 million in the state’s fiscal-year 2022 budget for the nonprofit KATCH. And, last Wednesday, the county allocated $200,000 in funds for adolescent treatment.
Blane pointed to failures in the past administration and hiccups along the way to not getting the facility running.
“While the previous model from the last administration of no additional government monies to support operations was the objective, two requests-for-proposal attempts asking vendors to cover their costs without subsidy show that the model will not work, and more help is needed,” Blane said.
Blane said the county only became aware of KATCH in the past few weeks.
“No face-to-face dialogue has occurred with them due to their recent formation, but we look forward to meeting with their directors in the coming days,” Blane said Friday.
Blane reiterated that the facility is still under DOH control, and Kawakami is committed to getting the center running when a new operator and operation model are identified.
“We are extremely grateful for this opportunity to provide much-needed behavioral-health services for Kaua’i’s youth,” HHSC Kaua‘i Region CEO Lance Segawa said.
“We are actively engaged in working through the myriad of details, such as developing the operational plan, creating a clinical advisory committee, establishing a timeline for licensure and certification, hiring an executive director, training, procuring equipment, and so on in order to open KATCH.”
KATCH envisions the facility to combine traditional and non-traditional approaches to treatment, including outdoor learning spaces to teach sustainable agriculture, like harvesting taro, raising animals and hydroponics.
The Kaua’i Humane Society has also joined in for a therapy-dog program funded with its own budget.
The DOE, through its Alternative Learning Programs Office, has already recruited and staffed five members for the facility.
“Our adolescents need it more than ever. They deserve it, they were promised it, so let’s join together to fulfill our commitment,” said Warren Haruki, Grove Farm president and CEO.
“We are extremely pleased that Grove Farm’s basis for the gift of the land is finally coming to fruition, after decades of planning and effort. For everyone that assisted in fulfilling our kuleana — our responsibility — let’s make this new approach to a long-term community need a reality.”
County Councilmembers Carvalho and KipuKai Kuali‘i helped to initiate conversations, pushing for the treatment center to get up and running.
“Finally, finally. Our island and our keiki deserve this,” said Carvalho. “This project remains a passion of mine, and I will continue to see that the original vision is fulfilled. Let’s go!” he said.
Just also want to acknowledge all of the work and heart that Theresa Koki has put into this special place all of these years….. Thank you Theresa….
They’ve got to make do with what they’ve got. Nonprofit. They’ve got to pay the politicians some money for “we” knowing where they’re from. Poorer or just from the athletics dept.
I’m with Ray Domingo. Nothing against that outlook. Now Pay Bernard p. Carvalho jr. money. If this works, just do it.
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