Portage is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps people suffering from addiction and mental health issues. Since 1970, Portage has developed specialized drug rehabilitation programs for adolescents, adults, pregnant women and mothers with children and criminal justice clients, among others. Portage operates nine addiction treatment programs, based on the therapeutic community approach, in Atlantic Canada, Québec and Ontario.
Portage Ontario‘s adolescent program was founded in 1985. It is a gender-specific residential program for Ontario youth, ages 14 to 18. Located outside Guelph, Ontario in the small town of Elora, the facility is situated on the 55-acre former site of a farm. The program provides on-site schooling and evidence-based methods like DBT and the 12 steps, in addition to holistic methods.
Accommodations and Food
Portage Ontario is a 40-bed facility set up in a renovated farmhouse with an add-on building that includes meeting rooms, offices, classrooms, a computer lab, a medical exam room and a dining hall. Clients reside on gender-specific floors of the farmhouse, with up to eight people to a room. Each client gets a twin bed and storage space. There is a large shared bathroom on each floor. It also features a lounge area with a TV and a ping-pong table.
Three healthy meals a day are prepared on-site and served in the dining hall. A staff nutritionist creates the menus and dietary restrictions can be accommodated.
Treatment and Staff
Portage Ontario’s adolescent program offers an average of three months in treatment but clients can stay up to six months if necessary. Detox is not offered but for those with co-occurring disorders, there is a nurse available 24 hours a day for medication management.
The program is entirely gender-specific, with boys and girls separated into different sections of the facility for everything except school. There is a strong emphasis on a positive peer culture environment, with the senior residents serving as peer counselors. Daily group and weekly individual therapy employs CBT, DBT and Motivational Interviewing (MI). The clients become familiar with AA and attend several on-site meetings a week. Education is emphasized while in treatment and the clients are required to attend a fully-accredited on-site school. Many clients are able to advance a grade level or graduate while attending treatment.
The staff members of Portage Ontario’s adolescent program are a multi disciplinary team of medical doctors, nurses and clinical behavioral health counselors.
Clients have opportunities to participate in team sports, yoga, biking and cooking workshops.
There are family counseling services incorporated into each client’s treatment program. Once the residential component of the treatment program is completed, clients receive free on-site aftercare support for up to two years, through regular communication and meetings with aftercare counselors and the alumni community.
Portage Ontario’s adolescent program offers structured gender-specific care for young people in a rural location away from the distractions of city life. This is a great choice for young people who are seeking substance abuse treatment that includes behavioral health support, medical services and an education program.
Portage Ontario Adolescent
6681 Irvine St
Elora, Ontario N0B 1S0
Portage Ontario Adolescent Cost: Free to residents, some fees apply. Reach Portage Ontario Adolescent by phone at (519) 846-0945 or by email at [email protected]. Find Portage Ontario on Facebook and Twitter
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