Drug program provides housing for mothers in recovery.
Delaware’s battle against opioid addiction doesn’t just affect adults.
In 2017, 450 children were born addicted to drugs in the state, according to the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families.
Recovering addict Julie Wyatt, a sober-living manager at Connections Community Support Programs, works with mothers to help them stay clean through a Connections initiative called Mommy & Me Houses.
The program specializes in a structured living environment in a home where addicted mothers, and up to two children per mom, can be housed in a safe and affordable place. Moms and kids can stay for up to 18 months.
For the mothers, one of the main requirements is full custody of their child or that they are working on their case with the Division of Family Services to gain custody.
Women are required to go to support meetings, get a sponsor and be willing to work at least 35 hours per week at a job.
Wyatt said Mommy & Me is particularly important for someone in early recovery from addiction, so most moms in the program are there with very young children.
“Most of the time when women are pregnant is when they receive treatment,” she said. “They want to get clean whenever they get pregnant. A lot of them do it for the child at first. Then they start to focus on themselves.”
Four Mommy & Me houses have a total of 30 beds. In 2016, the first opened in Milford and has 10 beds; the second Milford house has four; and the Lewes and Seaford houses each have eight.
Houses are staffed and supervised 24 hours a day, and childcare is provided.
Most of the residents are treated in an Intensive Outpatient Program at a Connections clinic from 7 a.m. to noon, three days a week for about 45 days.
Morgan Chambers, house manager for sober living, can relate and inspire the mothers because, although she doesn’t have kids, she’s had a bout with addiction.
Chambers has been in recovery from alcohol abuse for over a year.
“I was exactly where they’re at a year and a half ago,” Chambers said. “I’ve been in the same struggles they’ve been through. I’ve seen it all. I want them to always look at me and think it’s possible.”
Andrew Schmidt, director of Connections’ living sober program, said moms living in a house with other women in recovery is a good way for them to build each other up.
“If you weren’t going to go to a meeting, yet other people in the house are going, it can motivate you,” he said.