In Salt Lake City, Utah, a new program has launched to help addicted parents re-unite with their child housed by social services in Odyssey House’s “Parents with Children Program.” The program, which focuses on keeping families together, has provided a lifeline for those with drug problems.
Instead of separating children from parents completely, participants still walk their children to school every day and then return to the house for daily therapy. There is both a mother’s and children program and a program for fathers.
Clients agree to participate in substance abuse and mental health treatment, as well as classes that will help them become better parents. The program also offers individual therapy, treatment for trauma, and family therapy to help kids cope with the stress in their lives. Often, older kids will find that they need to be able to talk about ways that their parents’ drug use has affected them and work out their anger in a safe and healthy place.
The program’s director, Megan Gailey told KSL.com that the program is successful because so many people with addiction problems want to get help and keep their families together. “They want to be parents. They love their children. We are a great avenue for them to… get back into a routine for their children… repair those relationships, so they can be that safe person that their children need.”
Once they have finished the main program, clients will move on to transitional housing as a next step. While in this housing, they will continue to learn life skills to help them take the next level, which may include finding permanent housing and finding employment. The program will also help clients learn other life skills that are essential to recovery and family life.
Referral currently fills the program but interested parties can contact Odyssey House for more information on particpation.