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Community Services closes Dayspring Treatment Centre for Youth in Bridgewater

by Robert Devet

Earlier this week Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard announced the closure of the Dayspring Adolescent Treatment Centre in Bridgewater. 22 workers will receive layoff notices. Photo Nova Scotia legislature
Earlier this week Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard announced the closure of the Dayspring Adolescent Treatment Centre in Bridgewater. 22 workers will receive layoff notices. Photo Nova Scotia legislature

KJIPUKTUK, (HALIFAX) - The Department of Community Services will close the Dayspring Adolescent Treatment Centre in Bridgewater in the not too distant future.

The Centre was set up to house up to 10 youth who are experiencing emotional, behavioural and mental health difficulties.

22 employees, members of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees (NSGEU), will be affected.

“We are committed to serving our children as close to home as possible," said then Minister Francene Cosman when the centre opened in 1999. "I know children and families in the province will be better served by having these services close to home."

Now these children will move to the Wood Street Centre in Truro.

Minister Joanne Bernard told a Chronicle Herald reporter that an inability to retain staff in Bridgewater is forcing the move.

Joan Jessome, president of the NSGEU, doesn't buy that. She believes the real reason is budget-driven.

And the union feels thoroughly out of the loop.

“Our members were calling us for the last couple of weeks, because they got a sense that something was going on,” says Jessome. “But about a week ago we directly asked (the department) that question, and they said there was nothing planned.”

Jessome deplores the loss of 22 jobs on the South Shore with its fragile local economy.

Earlier this year the department laid off child welfare workers in Barrington and Guysborough and quietly closed its child welfare office in Sheet Harbour.

Jessome believes the latest closure is part of an orchestrated effort by Community Services to do more with less. An effort that she believes carries significant risks.

“Our members who are working in child protection are very concerned,” she says.

“They are managing areas that just aren't manageable. Some child is going to get seriously harmed. They can't physically cover the caseload and the geography that is required by this department.”

Follow Robert Devet on Twitter  @DevetRobert

 


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