The Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre, previously known as the Alwood Centre, is an adolescent and young adult program in Ontario, Canada—more specifically, it’s located in a small town of about 10,000 called Carleton Place on the Mississippi River. The program operates out of two different facilities, one for young men and one for women, and both welcome clients between the ages of 13 to 21.
Accommodations and Food
Both DSYTC’s male and female campuses are small, and offer an intimate residential atmosphere. The boys house has 14 beds and all double-occupancy rooms, some slightly larger than others. Floor layouts vary, though generally rooms have either side-by-side twin beds with not much else (in the smaller rooms), or kitty-corner twin beds with ample carpeted floor space; all are luck of the draw, and clients can’t pay more to get a larger room.
The male facility has a large common area in the basement with couches, a television and a computer. There’s also an area set aside for recreation, complete with a weight bench, treadmill and foosball table. Finally, there’s also a basketball hoop as well as plenty of grassy space for other outdoor activities.
The girls’ house is somewhat newer, and can house 10 total residents. The interior features cabin-style décor with wood accents and neutrally-colored carpeting. Bedrooms here are on the smaller side, with just enough space for two side-by-side twins. The common area in this facility has several couches, a television and a fireplace; other amenities include a small library and an exercise area with a treadmill overlooking the yard. There’s plenty of green surroundings here too, as well as a volleyball net. No electronics are allowed at either location.
Both of DSYTC’s facilities serve three meals a day, with frequently consultation from nutritional experts. Daily menus are generally inflexible, but accommodations can be made for food allergies. Lunch or dinner can include meatballs, roast turkey or ham with scalloped potatoes, and typically offer a salad as well; snacks are available after dinner also, if desired.
Treatment and Staff
DSYTC’s program lasts about 12 weeks, though it can be extended to 16 if residents feel they need more time. While the facility doesn’t have an on-site detox, they do offer dual-diagnosis support, CBT, contingency management, trauma work, one-on-one and group therapy (focused on the ACRA model for teens) and anger management classes. Recreation consists of walks or hikes, games and sports, trips to museums and time to make art. There are also basic household chores to teach clients a sense of routine and self-reliance, and an education program to get high school credit through their partnership with the M.F. McHugh Education Centre and nearby colleges.
A typical day at the DSYTC means a 7:30 am wake-up (7:50 am for the boys) and breakfast and chores until 8:35 am. After that comes academic programs and individual classes from 9 am to 12:30 pm followed by lunch, a group session or gym time at 1 pm, a half hour of personal time at 3 pm, group outdoor time at 3:30 and dinner at 5 pm. That’s followed by chores, homework or phone calls at 6 pm, an ACRA or other group session at 7:15 pm, snacks, relaxation or TV time at 9 and lights out by 10 pm.
The DSYTC offers family counseling services on a case-by-case basis, but families are not required to participate; family therapy is more likely for those experiencing general distress, boundary issues or unhealthy communication habits. Still, even though clients’ parents don’t need to participate in the program directly, they are encouraged to stay in contact with their children. Family can contact the facility to speak to their child’s therapist, and residents may dial out to staff-approved loved ones at certain times throughout each week. Parents and siblings are allowed to visit the facility on weekends, and after two months of clients can get weekend passes to return home to their families and gradually reintegrate into normal life.
The treatment professionals at DSYTC include addiction therapists, continuing care counselors and family therapists, of whom have Master’s-level qualifications. There are also counselors, overnight residential support staff, teachers, a consulting psychiatrist, administrative staff and a handful of volunteers. Each location has at least three staff members on-site at any given time, for a staff-to-client ratio that ranges from three- or four-to-one.
DSYTC’s teen program also offers 12 weeks of aftercare for no extra charge, which includes access to continuing-care counselors regardless of whether the teen in question has finished the program or not; these services are available in person or over the phone. They also refer residents to other professional resources and group meetings as needed.
Overall, the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre is ideal for youths seeking safe and thorough treatment with a staff of well-qualified professionals. The program is comprehensive enough to include academics, psychological care and household responsibilities to give struggling teens the structure they need to find recovery at a cost that can’t be beat.
Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre Locations
1986 Scotch Corners Rd
Carleton Place, Ontario
K7C 3P1, Canada
1883 Bradley Side Rd
K0A 1L0, Canada
Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre Cost
Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre Cost: Free for Canadian citizens (30 days; excludes spending money and recreation fees). Reach Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre by phone at (613) 594-8333 or by email at [email protected]. Find Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre on Facebook and YouTube
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Photo courtesy of Kristoferb at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)