Montréal, June 21, 2016 – The residents currently in treatment at Portage’s Mother and Child drug addiction rehabilitation centre welcomed partners and members of Portage’s Board of Trustees to the centre today to celebrate the program’s twentieth anniversary. Extra cause for celebration was the good news that Portage recently received about recurring financial support for the program from the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS). The centre can now stabilise its operations in order to help even more mothers overcome addiction while maintaining the custody of their children.
A program with the mother-child bond at heart
Recognising that many mothers hesitate to seek drug addiction treatment for fear of losing custody of their children, Portage established the Mother and Child program in 1996. Unique in Québec, the program is designed so that the children live with their mother at the centre, and in addition to overcoming their addiction issues, the mothers also work on their parenting skills and on their bond with their child. Their child’s presence is an important source of motivation for the mothers in treatment.
While the mothers are participating in therapeutic groups, the children are cared for at La Ribambelle, the centre’s on-site childcare service. Early Childhood Educators and Specialised Educators help the children learn, develop, and work through any behavioural issues or developmental delays that may have been caused by parental substance abuse.
“My daughter benefited greatly from the safe and secure environment at Portage,” stated a graduate of the program. “Taking care of her while in treatment – she was a part of my rehabilitation, which prepared me for life after Portage. Today, I’ve overcome drug addiction and I can’t imagine how my life would be if I hadn’t come to Portage.”
Results from a study carried out by Sogémap, a recognised program evaluation firm, show that the community living environment at the Mother and Child centre not only teaches the children how to better live with others, but also how to express their feelings, manage their emotions, and how to trust. After their time at Portage, the children have improved gross and fine motor skills, personal and social skills, as well as better problem-solving abilities.
Focused on what’s most important: Mothers and their children
Peter A. Howlett, President of Portage, considers the recurring financing announcement as a gift for the centre’s twentieth anniversary.
“For all these years, Portage has strengthened families by helping these mothers overcome drug addiction,” he said. “Now that the program has recurring financing, we can focus on what’s most important: the mothers and their children who continue to knock on our doors looking for a better life, free from addiction.”