February 1, 2023

Operators of unlicensed youth centre shut down in Kelowna now setting up shop in the Cayman Islands

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9496527By Don Plant, Kelowna Daily Courier

Three families are suing a private Kelowna facility that cared for troubled youth after their children were allegedly mistreated and then abruptly removed from the home by the B.C. government. Emails written by owner Susan Kenney last month suggest NeurVana Recovery and Wellness Inc. is setting up a new treatment centre in the Cayman Islands. The two letters read by The Daily Courier invite an Okanagan parent to consider sending his or her daughter to Grand Cayman for treatment.

The couple whose unlicensed youth centre was shut down in Kelowna are now soliciting clients to join them in the Caribbean.

Emails written by Susan Kenney last month suggest NeurVana Recovery and Wellness Inc. is setting up a new treatment centre in the Cayman Islands. The two letters read by The Daily Courier invite an Okanagan parent to consider sending his or her daughter to Grand Cayman for treatment.

“It sounds like your daughter is a perfect fit for our very unique program. It’s quite something that you are asking about a warm destination, as right now we are in the Cayman Islands . . . completing final plans to open a location here in Grand Cayman in the spring,” Kenney wrote in a Jan. 15 email.

Kenney signed off as NeurVana’s director of wellness. She and her husband, David Kenney, left Kelowna after Interior Health closed their residential treatment facility for troubled teens in early December.

The health authority is demanding they get a licence under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act.

Three families have since sued the couple for breach of contract, negligence and fraud for operating the overnight centre without a business licence. A fourth family is now filing a similar claim, said lawyer Marco Francesco Lilliu of Francesco Grayer in Vancouver.

“It’s quite unfortunate that (the Kenneys) left the jurisdiction,” he said Tuesday. “I’m angered that they’re continuing, and I’m barely connected with them compared to how my clients must feel — devastated that they’re continuing to practise.”

The latest family claims their addicted daughter ran away from the Kelowna home on the fifth day of her four-week stay. She said the Kenneys verbally abused her and forced her to eat meat when she’s vegetarian, said Lilliu.

After going to hospital with a stomach ache, she hitch-hiked to UBC Okanagan where a student let her use her cellphone so she could call her mother to pick her up, he said.

The mother of a 16-year-old boy getting treatment for a marijuana addiction claims he was bullied and ridiculed by the couple, and lost 20 pounds during his three-week stay. The family spent $18,300 for an experience he’s still recovering from, said Sandra Colquhoun of Burnaby.

Another girl whose family paid $25,280 said the facility was like a prison, according to the statement of claim. She alleged a director locked her outside the building in freezing weather without socks and withheld her medication for anxiety.

The accusations represent one side of the story and have not been proven in court. Despite email requests for an interview, the Kenneys have not responded to this newspaper.

Castanet reported the Kenneys sent them a statement through their lawyer saying they deny all allegations of wrongdoing. The statement said Neurvana has received “an outpouring of support” from families who thank staff for saving their children’s lives.

The couple were in Kelowna for a few days in late January to arrange the move to Grand Cayman, according to an email sent by Susan Kenney to the same prospective parent.

“We are targeting to be operational for April and are on our way back to the island Sunday (Feb. 2) to finalize (sic) set up there,” she wrote. “If you can, fill out the application for admission that is on our website.”

The Kenneys’ lawyer has confirmed he’s representing the couple and Neurvana as a corporation. They must respond to the civil claim by mid-March or the plaintiffs will seek a default judgment, Lilliu said.

For more on this story go to:

http://www.theprovince.com/Operators+unlicensed+youth+centre+shut+down+Kelowna+setting+shop+Cayman+Islands/9522910/story.html

 

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