Thu Jan 28, 2021

B&GH to provide ‘extended family’ for children while parents receive substance abuse treatment

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A $585,620 grant will allow Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina to provide residential care for children of parents suffering from substance use disorder. 

B&GH, in partnership with Brunswick Christian Recovery Center, has received a grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission to create Bright Hope, a no-fee, residential family-based treatment program. This family-based treatment and unification service will provide housing and treatment while the parent is in recovery services.

“Boys and Girls Homes has provided care for youth victims of abuse and neglect for more than 65 years,” said Director of Development Mike Garrell. “Our services have evolved throughout the years to meet the needs of the children and families now before us. The majority of adults entering treatment have children, and these children are at high risk of victimization from the substance abuse behaviors of the parents. 

“Parents struggling from addiction will be assured their children are also receiving care,” Garrell said. “It’s important to treat the person with the addiction as well as to treat the family as a whole. The children and youth will learn healthy coping skills and supportive ways to focus on self-care. When whole families are treated, outcomes for each individual member improve.”

Joe Kennedy, an experienced therapeutic director, will be running Bright Hope on the Lake Waccamaw campus.

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“Acceptance and belonging are crucial and should be preserved within all families,” Kennedy said. “In Bright Hope we will be using an extended family model to collaborate with parents as they manage their recovery at Brunswick Christian Recovery Center.”

According to survey results published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, one out of every three people knows someone with a substance abuse challenge. The survey further indicated that half of all people who drink are addicted to alcohol. About 38% of adults in 2017 battled an illicit drug use disorder with one out of every eight adults struggling with both alcohol and drug use disorders simultaneously.

Facing Addiction with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence’s Facts About Alcohol found that 40% of all hospital beds in the United States are used to treat conditions related to alcohol consumption.

“One way to prevent children from entering into the foster care or Department of Social Services system is to treat the parents and the children of substance use disorder and strengthen their reunification as a healthy, substance-free family with the skills to build resiliency and succeed as a healthy family,” Kennedy said. “This is something that is directly addressed in the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA).”

Having child care is a big hurdle for adults with substance use disorder, according to Brunswick Christian Recovery Center CEO Josh Torbisch.

“What keeps parents from getting into recovery is not having someone to take care of their kids,” Torbisch said. “If they know that they have an option to go into a residential program that takes care of their children, they may be more willing to go into the voluntary placement. It will keep the children out of the DSS system.”

Funding became available Oct. 1, but a realistic goal to begin placing children ages 6 to 12 would be closer to the end of the year as updates are made to the Civitan Cottage on the Lake Waccamaw campus to make it more comfortable for young children.

“We want to begin serving kids as soon as possible,” Kennedy said. “Our model is based on our house parents being an extended family for the children while mom or dad is in rehabilitation. We want to be certain that the facility meets the needs of children in a family setting, and we have a team of house parents ready and trained to be an extended family for the children coming to live with us.”

The program includes family therapy, incorporating best practices from Trauma Informed Partnering for Safety and Permanence – Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting (TIPS-MAPP) with a core model known as “Family Success.”

“The purpose and goal of Bright Hope is to nurture the child as their parent or parents finish a successful program,” Kennedy said. “Bright Hope, although practiced in a family group setting, focuses on the individual strengths of each child. We look at each child, their unique set of needs and how we can best serve the child and develop an individual plan for each child. We believe it is our responsibility to provide for our children a sense of belonging and feelings of self-worth. We believe the need for acceptance and love is vital to their success while living with us at Bright Hope as they prepare to be with their parents again.” — Submitted story by Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina 

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