Odyssey House Trust Christchurch
Greers Road site is a smoke free premises
If you would like support to quit smoking please ask your worker about the support available

Click here for a printable booklet

Click here for a printable version of this page

Click here for status within the programme definitions

Click here for an Interagency Process Worksheet

Orientation information for agencies and youth


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Mission statement

To increase young peoples ability to manage their lives safely and effectively


Welcome to Odyssey Youth Service. The Residential Programme is a residential integrated treatment programme for young people aged 14-18 years who are experiencing serious difficulties with substance misuse and other associated problems.

The Philosophy

From its beginning Odyssey House Christchurch has developed psychiatrically orientated drug-free residential and day programmes from the therapeutic community concept of self-help.

The drug, alcohol and tobacco free community consists of programme participants and staff, this community works together to encourage and promote positive development in the individual.

The programme includes:

  • Individual & Group Work
  • Family/Whanau Group
  • Educational/ Vocational Assessment
  • Recreational Activities

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Life Skills Development

  • Medical and Psychiatric Assessment
  • Legal Assistance

The young people learn how to use the community to assist and promote personal growth, with the primary 'therapist' and 'teacher' in the Therapeutic Model being the community itself.

It also provides a predictable environment with well-defined boundaries, as well as encouraging the young person to learn not only consistency, but also reliability, responsibility and accountability.

The community as a whole provides a crucial context for change.

Aims and Objectives of Youth Service

Odyssey House is a non-smoking programme, committed to providing quality service to meet the needs of young people with different levels of substance misuse.

  • To provide a comprehensive treatment approach to young people and their families at risk of substance misuse and associated problems.
  • To provide a friendly environment for young people who are alienated in mainstream society.
  • To expose young people to adults whom role model respectful relationships with each other and with young people.
  • To assist young people to develop a positive attitude towards health and social services.
  • To provide challenge, enjoyment and excitement through recreational experiences which are an alternative to substance use.
  • To provide a case management approach which involves when possible liaison with families/whanau and other allied professionals.
  • To create opportunities for young people to try new things and to enhance their strengths
  • To improve young peoples physical and mental well being.
  • To develop educational opportunities that the young person can experience success and return too educational and vocational training in mainstream communities.
  • To provide access to appropriate information that will enable young people to make informed decisions regarding alcohol, tobacco, drugs, gambling and other harmful substances.
  • To encourage family/ whanau involvement
  • To reduce criminal offending
  • To provide an integrated approach with agencies and services involved in the treatment of the young person to maximise the resources available while in treatment.

Target Group

Young People aged 14-18 years

  • Who have met criteria for substance dependence.
  • No educational or vocational placement.
  • Persistent criminal offending related to substance use.
  • No stable home environment.
  • Agrees to voluntarily comply with the rules and regulations of the Odyssey House Trust.
  • Is medically suited for the programme.

Referral Process

A referral can be made in person or by phone and are welcome from anywhere within the South Island. Referrals can be taken from: mental health services, parents/caregivers, child youth and family agencies, alcohol and drug agencies. The clinical team meets weekly where a decision is made around the young person's suitability for the programme. The team leader will contact the young person, their family/whanau and the referrer to advise them of the outcome.

Access to the Programme

Odyssey Youth Service provides access to treatment irrespective of young persons:

  • Gender
  • Ethnic Group
  • Previous criminal history
  • Sexual preference

Services Provided

The length of stay in the residential programme is variable, and dependent on the young person's progress. The services provided are dependent on the specific treatment needs of each young person.

  • Individualised treatment plan
  • Education-individualised educational plan
  • Individual, group and family work
  • Life skills development
  • Focus groups
  • Recreational activities
  • Medical Services
  • Liaison with mainstream educational and vocational options
  • Regular review meetings and progress reports with your family and referrer.
  • Legal assistance

The Admission Process

When a young person has been found suitable for the programme, the team leader of the programme will make contact with the parent/caregiver or referrer to arrange an admission date and time. Admissions occur on a Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday unless otherwise arranged with the Team Leader.

The admission process usually takes about one hour; this allows time to complete all admission forms, and an initial explanation of the rules and regulations of the programme.
Please feel free to ask any questions or seek clarification about any concerns you may have.

New Programme participants need to bring

  • Current Medication
  • One weeks worth of extra clothing
  • Warm jackets/ raincoats for recreation time
  • Sports shoes for recreation, arts & craft ( safety)
  • Do not bring drugs, alcohol or associated equipment.  
  • Do not bring bandannas or gang related apparel.
  • Do not bring any items that have or promote drugs, gang affiliations, or violence.
  • Do not bring Cell Phones.

Property left at Odyssey House when you leave will only be held for ten days before being returned to a family or other contact, or donated to charity.

Personal allowance

If aged over 16 years you will be able to access a WINZ residential allowance. This is banked into a personal bank account opened for the resident by Odyssey House. The young person is taught how to budget his money. From this allowance the young person is encouraged to

  • Save
  • Purchase clothing

Arriving At the Residential Programme

Upon arrival a staff member will meet you and you will be assigned a buddy for the first few days. A buddy maybe a staff member or another programme participant. While settling in, residents have limited contact outside the programme, and have restricted phone use in the first week.

Their role is to ensure that the young person:

  • Is introduced to all staff and other programme participants
  • Is given a tour of the facility
  • Is given an explanation about the programme rules
  • Is given an explanation about the programme schedule
  • Is orientated on fire and earthquake safety procedures

All young people enter the 4-6 week assessment phase of the programme. During this phase the following occurs:

  • Key Worker will be appointed
  • Individualised education plan will be developed
  • Individualised treatment plan will be developed
  • If appropriate family / whanau will be involved a.s.a.p. in the young persons treatment

While in the assessment phase the young person is learning to co-operate with the requirements of the therapeutic community and the programme.

Family and Whanau Involvement

Odyssey Youth Service encourages partners, family/ whanau & extended family / whanau to participate and support the young person during their treatment.

How does this happen?

Family Group: Family/Whanau and the young person come together to learn new strategies for coping with problems related to substance misuse.

This support may include:

  • Information about alcohol and other drug issues.
  • Information about Odyssey Youth Service & the therapeutic community.
  • Information and referral to family- specific services


Visiting times for family/whanau is Sundays between 1pm- 3pm. Visitors will be asked to leave bags & cellphones either in the staff office or their cars for safety reasons. They will also be asked to leave gifts and/or letters for the young person in the staff office. Other visiting times are to be made by prior arrangement with the team leaders. Visitors are not allowed to smoke around the youth, or provide them with smokes.

Making Toll Calls to Family

The cost of phone calls to family will need to be paid for by the family or from the young person's allowance.

Programme rules

Therapeutic communities maintain an explicit code of rules and regulations that define and maintain a safe environment and an acceptable standard of behaviour.


This is a non-smoking residential programme.


The Cardinal Rules

These rules address those behaviours for which there is zero tolerance in the community.

  1. No alcohol or other drugs.
  2. No violence or threats of violence
  3. No sex or sexually acting out
  4. No stealing
  5. No gambling

If any of these rules are breached a group is held with those involved to explore the circumstances that have led to the situation where it appears a rule has been breached. This involves discussion about what was intended by their behaviour.

If it is confirmed that a rule has been breached there are a number of possible outcomes.

  • Discharge from the community
  • Or a young person may remain in the community on a status review plan

Alcohol and other Drug use Monitoring

Monitoring is used to assist the community in maintaining an alcohol and drug free environment.

Urine analysis

The young person will be asked to submit a urine sample on entry to the programme and then encouraged to submit fortnightly screens. This is done so the young person and staff can monitor the reduction of their substance misuse.


A breathlyser is used on a random basis. It is also used in circumstances where staff or residents have concerns about the alcohol free status of the young person.


The results will be discussed with the young person and their Key Worker. If the young person is unable to manage and maintain a reduction in their substance misuse, then consideration will be given for the young person to enter the residential programme.

The Programme Levels

Assessment for programme suitability

Orientation/Assessment Phase

(4-6 week)
Level 1
(Set some goals for attending the programme)
Level 2
(Reviewed my goals)
Level 3
(Been actively involved in all aspects of the programme)
(Made progress towards one of my personal goals)

About The School

The Odyssey Youth Service provides an educational programme. The educational programme aims to provide a supportive environment for young people that develops positive attitudes to learning and the social and learning skills necessary to enhance their life opportunities, health and well being. The primary aim in the planning and the provision of an educational programme will be that young people are enabled to generalise these skills to the community and other education or work settings.

The education is provided by the Southern Regional Health School and follows the National Curriculum Guidelines as provided by the Ministry of Education.

An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is formulated in association with Odyssey Youth Service, parents and other professionals involved with the young person, identifying specific areas the young person identifies.
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Complaints Procedure

Procedure for conflict, grievance resolution and complaints.

A written summary of the un-resolved problem or complaint (encounter) is given to Odyssey Youth Service staff and discussed with them. A structured meeting is then facilitated with staff members /residents involved, having support with them during the meeting. The meeting works towards resolution of the conflict/complaint and can make  recommendations that help prevent re-occurrences of the problems.

If these steps do not resolve the conflict the young person may then put it in writing and forward to the Director of Odyssey House. All complaints will be investigated within 15 days.

If this process fails to resolve the conflict/complaint then the young person can contact Addiction Advocacy Services on (03) 943-5584 or contact the Health & Disability Commissioner 0800112233.



































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