A Sitka-based residential treatment program for Alaska teenagers is moving to Juneau.

Raven’s Way treats teens who have been diagnosed with substance use or dependence. It’s operated by the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC). But sometime later this year, the program will merge with Juneau Youth Services (JYS), which SEARHC is in the process of acquiring. 

In an interview with KCAW on March 9, SEARHC’s communications director Lyndsey Schaefer said the details are still being ironed out, but SEARHC offered jobs to all Raven’s Way staff.

“80% of the current Raven’s Way staff in Sitka, have been offered positions in Sitka as well, because we are going to use the space that’s vacated by Raven’s Way — the buildings there in Sitka– to expand our adult substance use treatment program,” Schaefer said. “The remaining staff that were not offered positions in Sitka have been offered positions at the new Raven’s Way campus in Juneau. So there isn’t anyone that was not offered a position…period.” 

Schaefer said this means Sitka’s adult substance use program will effectively double in size as well.

Like Raven’s Way, Juneau Youth Services provides residential treatment for teens, as well as therapeutic foster care, and case management. Schaefer said it’s too soon to say exactly what combination of services will continue to be provided, but once the purchase of JYS is finalized, it will be known as the Raven’s Way campus. 

“Regardless of where it is, Raven’s Way has been very important and very impactful. We understand that,” Schaefer said. “It will still benefit youth that are struggling with drugs and alcohol…And then youth outside of Southeast Alaska will have a direct route to get to Juneau, which will allow us to expand the program reach and impact, and I think that’s a great thing.

“I think the expansion of the substance abuse services for adults in Sitka is going to go a long way to helping a lot of families and folks recover to get better, and heal families, which is very important to us,” she added.

Raven’s Way was in the news this time last year, when SEARHC closed Crossings, a wilderness program for at-risk youth based in Wrangell which was one of the community’s largest private-sector employers. At the time, four of the 16 staff members were offered jobs at Raven’s Way, and the other 12 were offered “commensurate positions” in Wrangell.

Since SEARHC is still in the process of acquiring JYS, the timeline for the move to Juneau hasn’t been nailed down yet. But Schaefer said the class of teens that graduates from Raven’s Way this April will be the last group to complete the program in Sitka.