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Youth Forensic Services

In Patient Services
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Secure Care Unit

The IWK Secure Care Unit (SCU) in Waterville is a six bed inpatient Youth Forensics Unit where 30-day court ordered mental health assessments are performed to determine fitness for trial. The Secure Care Unit also serves as an inpatient rehabilitation unit for treatment of youth with mental illness deemed not criminally responsible (NCR) in a court of law.  

The SCU works in collaboration with the Department of Justice and is unique in that most of the youth it serves come from the judicial system. The hospital and youth facility are co-located to make the most efficient use of shared resources and services. The facilities are independently operated and managed such that young persons and forensic patients are separated at all times.

The multidisciplinary team consists of a medical doctor, psychiatrist, registered and licensed nurses, psychologists, social workers and youth care workers.

The unit provides 24-7 structured, individualized program care in a secure environment. Programming includes addictions counselling, anger management, cognitive restructuring, music therapy, education, leisure planning, recreational activities, and life skills training. Programming is delivered individually and in groups. 

Clinical and Healthcare Services to Nova Scotia Youth Facility

The IWK works in partnership with the Department of Justice to provide essential health care services to young persons at the Nova Scotia Youth Facility (NSYF). The multidisciplinary team consists of registered nurses, psychologists and social workers. There is also a medical doctor and psychiatrist who hold weekly clinics onsite. 

The IWK provides the same spectrum of care that can be found in a community setting, while specializing in services that reflect the needs of the youth population. These include treatment of acute and chronic conditions, infectious disease prevention and control, medication management, suicide risk assessment, health education and discharge planning. Clinical services facilitate interventions to support young offenders with mental health and addiction issues. Interventions include mental health assessments, addictions counselling and individual/family therapy.  Youth can self-refer or be referred by family or Department of Justice staff. Participation is voluntary.