Fresh Hope is an opportunity for Mothers who struggle with substance abuse to change the direction of their lives for themselves and their children.
Time at Fresh Hope is known to be difficult but rewarding as residents work hard confronting thought patterns, self centeredness, attitudes & behaviours and parenting skills.
Fresh Hope’s main focus is addressing the substance addiction and underlying causes. Children are a vital component of the rehabilitation process.
Mothers who enter the program have full responsibility for the care of their own children. However there is extensive support, monitoring and teaching of appropriate parenting behaviours and skills. Due to the high level of House Parent support to the mother, parenting is tailored appropriately to the age, needs and behaviours of the child and the interactions with the mother, as well as other siblings. The mothers engage in a parenting style which excludes smacking.
House Parent Observation
A major part of the House Parent role is to ensure that children are being adequately cared for through the observation of interactions between mothers and their children. The House Parent will intervene in a situation if necessary, or may suggest alternative methods of addressing issues. Mothers need to be willing and open to receiving this feedback and committed to following through on the suggestions put forward to address concerns.
Star Charts are a tool that Mothers use with their children to keep track of behaviours. It lists behaviours, such as manners, kindness, sharing, chores, and each morning and night the mother discusses with her child whether they have received a tick or cross for the particular behaviour. Star Charts are used with children aged 2 and above and the behaviours addressed are age appropriate and achievable for the child.
The Star Chart is a great tool to ensure that the mother is being consistent with parenting so that the children have security in what is acceptable and what is unacceptable.
Star Charts are also used as a reward system with the child scoring the highest points at the end of the week given the reward of being able to choose the meal and children’s movie on Friday Night.
The nightly routine of bathing, dinner, star chart, story time and bedtime is a very important part of the day for both mother and child. It assists with the bonding and attachment process between the mother and child. It is also important in giving the child a sense of structure and consistency that they may have been missing in the past. This in turn assists with addressing any behavioural issues by the child during the day.
Due to the complexities of living in a community, mealtimes are structured with all mothers, children, house parents and other staff sharing meals together at a set time. Children are expected to finish the meal given to them without complaining. If they choose not to finish their meal then they wait until the next meal to eat again (i.e. If they do not finish their dinner, they do not receive dessert and do not eat again until breakfast). Children are also expected to sit at the table with the family while the meal is on and to take their cup and plate to the sink when they are finished. This can be linked to the child’s star chart if necessary.
Kids Day Activities
Kids Day is a day set aside for the mothers to spend time bonding with their children. During the allocated day, the mother and child spend quality time together reading stories, baking in the kitchen, playing, painting or gardening outside, or going on an excursion for a picnic. This is a highly anticipated day of the week for both mothers and children and is also an important component of the Fresh Hope program.
The Fresh Hope program is very unique in that the focus is on both the mother and the children. It is not until you visit the facilities that you can fully understand how wonderful this program is. For the children it is like living in this fun filled loving environment where mummy is learning how to be a mummy.
The ‘Fresh Hope’ program aims to assist mothers and their children who are in need of rehabilitation due to drug or alcohol abuse.
Other benefits include:
- Future Generations – with the Generational Cycle of Addiction and Abuse broken.
- The Community – through the successful return of the mothers to society as responsible citizens.
- Local Government – with resources assisted financially through changed work and spending patterns by rehabilitated families.
As well as rehabilitation, the Fresh Hope Program offers mothers & childrens education in the following:
- Parenting Education
- Boundaries Groups
- Anger Management Groups
- Life Skills
- Personal Counselling
- Horses for Healing
- Outdoor Activities
- Group Therapy
- Drug and Alcohol Education
- Self Esteem
- Relationship Counselling
- Vocational Assessment and Further Education
- Fun, friends and family
- Child Care 3 days
- Anger Management
- Kids Garden
- Appropriate Behaviours training
- Self Esteem
- Personal Counselling
- Kids groups
- Protective Behaviours
- Attendance at the local school
If there is a vacancy within the program, the mother and her children join the program as soon as possible after referral. If required, detoxification, with the exception of methadone and alcohol, can be carried out within Fresh Hope with intensive supervision, on call medical and psychiatric assistance.
Mothers and children are kept together throughout the rehabilitation process with the mothers the primary carers of their children.
All counselling is focused on the family model, not institutionalized.
Fresh Hope provides follow up care to mothers upon graduation and as they return to the community. Mothers and their children are linked to a support family in the community before graduation. While the Fresh Hope Program has a serious purpose, fun and enjoyment plays a key role in the rehabilitation process. Camping, fishing, and horse riding are regular activities shared by residents, volunteers and ‘friends’ of Fresh Hope. Monthly BBQs, Graduation Nights, and birthdays are great occasions for fun and interaction. On all these occasions the opportunity is taken to recognise and acknowledge the invaluable assistance given by our volunteers.