At an inauguration event at the new Centre, Dr. Abel Bosum, Chairman of the Cree Nation Government and Mrs. Bella M. Petawabano, Chair of the Cree Health Board, welcomed Cree and Québec officials including Minister for Health and Social Services Lionel Carmant, as well as other distinguished guests who by their contribution made this project possible.
The new Youth Healing Services Centre for Eeyou Istchee is a residential facility for youth who require intensive healing outside their family setting for addictions, trauma, and other serious issues. When fully operational, it may accommodate up to 20 boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 17 referred under the Youth Protection Act. The Centre will replace an outdated Youth Healing Services Reception Centre in Mistissini, while increasing capacity by an additional eight places. The Centre is also adapted to receive a small number of youth in closed custody under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, making it possible for these individuals to carry out rehabilitation programs within the Cree community, for greater cultural safety.
The new Centre is the result of collaboration between the Cree Nation Government and the Cree Health Board. Many years ago, they began discussions to address the growing needs of Cree youth who come into contact with the justice system and social services. Discussions took account of key commitments in the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement and recommendations of the Cree-Québec Judicial Advisory Committee to set aside resources for the construction of a new Youth Healing Services Centre for Eeyou Istchee and the implementation of additional programs and services for Cree youth.