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  • Northside West

Addiction now spans three generations

Thursday, 7th December, 2017 8:00am
Addiction now spans three generations

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, pictured at the opening of the extended creche and pre-school facility for children of Coolmine clients.  PHOTO: MAXWELLS

Addiction now spans three generations

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, pictured at the opening of the extended creche and pre-school facility for children of Coolmine clients.  PHOTO: MAXWELLS

COOLMINE Therapeutic Community clients are often second and even third generation of their family with addiction problems the treatment centre has revealed.

Research into the backgrounds of 1,350 clients attending Coolmine annually shows that often their parents and grandparents also experienced addiction problems.

The figures were highlighted at the opening of an extended Early Years crèche and pre-school facility at Coolmine Ashleigh House, which can now work with 50 children per year.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, attended the official opening ceremony earlier this month.

Coolmine Chief Executive, Pauline McKeown explained the difficulties faced by some women with addiction problems.

“The majority of those with drug addiction problems also have family members including parents and siblings with similar addictions,” she said.

 “Often the pregnant women and mothers that we work with have experienced little love themselves and histories of child maltreatment and trauma are all too prevalent.

“They may not have been proper parented themselves and yet now are mothers facing many challenges.

“With support from Government and private donors, Coolmine has been able to expand its mother and child facility, which is the only one in Ireland.”

Coolmine say that integration of addiction treatment and early childcare interventions can help stop generational cycles of addiction and homelessness.

“Ashleigh House allows pregnant women and mothers to keep their children with them during their residential treatment programme,” McKeown continued.

“The alternative is that these vulnerable, high-risk families remain unsupported in our communities, often struggling in homeless accommodation.

“They are often afraid to acknowledge their addiction for fear that their unborn, their child or children will be taken into care.

“They remain hidden and unsupported in our communities.”

Coolmine accommodates 65 women and 25 children in its residential service every year.

McKeown says the extended on-site Early Years crèche and pre-school facility doubles the number of babies and young children that it can support.

“The service provides a real opportunity to decrease the negative impact of parental substance misuse on children,” she added.

“It contributes to breaking generational cycles of addiction, which is all too prevalent amongst disadvantaged families in Ireland today.

“Many of the women Coolmine helped have significant histories of trauma, resulting from past and present abuse.

“First and foremost, they are in a safe and secure environment at Ashleigh House to acknowledge and work through these experiences.

“This, combined with the expanded crèche facility can help more mothers overcome their addiction and enable their families to lead a fulfilled and productive life.

“This is achieved with the strengths based Parents Under Pressure Programme (PUP) to empower mothers become the best parent for their child or children.”

Coolmine Ashleigh House is the only addiction residential rehabilitation centre for mothers and their children in Ireland.

Last year 66 women attended Ashleigh House of whom 62 per cent were national admissions.

Seventeen children were supported by the onsite early years crèche service.

There are still more male clients at Coolmine with 134 men attending residential therapy at Coolmine Lodge of whom 59 per cent were direct prison or probation service referrals.

Fifty five men and women engaged in Coolmine’s Drug-Free day programme in 2016.

Twenty-one clients progressed to aftercare and 14 graduated from the programme to access training, education and employment placements.


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