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COUCH'S CORNER: Delano Recovery Station marks one year anniversary

Can you believe it has been one year since the opening of the Delano Recovery Station?

This past week, Telecare opened the doors to the public to celebrate the one-year anniversary. Since the facility began operating in June 2020, the voluntary sobering program plays an integral role in reducing substance abuse in Kern County’s second largest city.

The five-client, short-stay (four to 10 hours) program provides screening, access and linkage to care for individuals with co-occurring mental illness and/or substance use needs. Services aim to promote recovery in a safe, sobering and welcoming environment with respect and no judgment.

Open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, Telecare partners with Kern Behavioral Health & Recovery Services to operate the Delano Recovery Station, located at 629 Main St. In fact, it is one of the three treatment service programs Telecare operates in Kern. Since its founding in 1965, the family- and employee-owned company has evolved over the decades to serve a full spectrum of recovery-centered services that improve the standard of living in communities across the nation.

The Recovery Station provides law enforcement an alternative for those who are acutely intoxicated and have a co-occurring mental illness where, instead of being arrested, they are presented with an opportunity for peer engagement. This allows both the clients to be connected with services and our law enforcement agencies to continue protecting our communities.

For example, the Delano Police Department can remain in town reducing crime and not have to take the extended drive to the Kern County Jail in Bakersfield. Prior to this service being available, these individuals previously may have been arrested for public intoxication and/or taken to unnecessary psychiatric crisis programs.

When I collaborated with KernBHRS to open the Recovery Station, one of my goals was to help DPD enhance public safety. Individuals referred to the program are screened by Recovery Station staff over the phone and transported to the facility by partner agencies including law enforcement, MET, behavioral health treatment providers, homeless providers, and friends and family. To meet the needs of the Delano community, they are also allowing individuals to self-refer.

I am proud we can offer clients snacks/beverages, an opportunity to shower, and provide access to a washer and dryer and community resources that can assist them move forward. When you call in to make a referral, please be ready to provide staff basic information about the individual such as their name, date of birth and a description of what is occurring. Please call the Recovery Station before transporting anyone to the facility.

Keep in mind that the station is not an alternative to incarceration. Individuals arrested for DUI, warrants or charges should not be bought to the Recovery Station. Also, anyone in need of urgent medical attention should be taken to a hospital. Additionally, the Recovery Station does not provide psychiatric crisis services.

As we continue to expand behavioral health services to combat the ongoing opioid pandemic, I am committed to working with constituents across District 4 to develop initiatives that improve our ongoing efforts. We know that embracing the family members and residents closest to the people in need of sobriety can improve our chances of guiding them to a better path. Linkage to community-based programs that guide individuals to long-term stability is essential to this program.

Special thanks to KernBHRS Director Stacy Kuwahara and Recovery Station Administrator Shauna Chisholm from Telecare for their dedication to the community of Delano and Kern County at large. Also, I would like to thank the clinicians, substance use specialists and peers support staff who engage with some of our most vulnerable community including individuals experiencing homelessness.

When reflecting on this past year, Chisholm said, “Over the last year we have had the opportunity to serve the Delano and surrounding areas, and it has been an amazing year for us at the Recovery Station. We have seen the community come together to help individuals who are at a low point in their life and needing to know that someone cares. While not everyone who comes through our doors is ready to make a change, we are always here when they are. We look forward to many more years in the Delano area.”

For individuals in a career field involving social work or behavioral health, please check out the career opportunities available at the facility by visiting www.telecarecorp.com/delano-recovery-station. For any questions, please contact the Recovery Station at 661-394-2441 or email DelanoRecoveryStation@telecarecorp.com.

If you have any general questions for our District 4 office, call 661-868-3680 or email us at district4@kerncounty.com. Have a safe week.

David Couch represents Kern County’s 4th District.