When the Family Treatment Centre was presented to Jane as an option for her to get help with her addictions, she finally saw an opportunity that would work for her and her daughter.
The Family Treatment Centre, which opened in June 2013, can accommodate up to eight mothers and their children, while the mothers are undergoing an inpatient addictions treatment program.
“To me, this was a real option that I could fathom myself doing, whereas all the other options for treatment centres always came to a hard no from me,” Jane said. After taking some time to make the final decision to start the program, and make arrangements for other personal issues, she made the decision to enter the program in Prince Albert in early 2017.
The colourful lights over the dining area are one of the ways the design Family Treatment Centre works to make the facility more welcoming for the mothers and their children.
“It could fit into my life,” Jane said. “I could have a reprieve from the demands of the world to focus on myself and my recovery. And have my daughter close by, cared for by good people, and involved with other children of the families who came to the centre as well.”
Having her four-year-old daughter with her was one of the most important reasons that Jane made the decision to begin the six-week program at the Family Treatment Centre, located next to the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert. The program can accommodate up to eight moms and their children at one time, and has had more than 300 clients enter the program since it opened in June 2013.
Laura Basaraba is the Acting Manager of the Family Treatment Centre in Prince Albert. She has been working at the centre since it opened
in June 2013.
Now the acting manager, Laura Basaraba was part of the team that developed the initial program when the Family Treatment Centre took its first clients. The program has changed based on feedback from its clients and staff.
“We have evolved to make this program the most client-centred as possible – from the training with our staff, to being trauma-informed, to our program,” Basaraba said.
From left, Rina Jacobo, Marina Thorson, Laura Basaraba, and Carol Adams, are among the staff members at the Family Treatment Centre. Basaraba is the Acting Manager, while the other three are child care workers. As many as eight mothers and their children (up to age 12) can be accommodated at the inpatient addictions treatment facility in Prince Albert. Moms usually have 2-3 children each, but could come with as many as six.
One important change was from an emphasis on life skills (such as budgeting for monthly expenses) to focus on the client’s needs to avoid or mitigate a relapse. They have also learned from those who complete the program and have success – what has helped them to maintain their recovery and eliminate relapse, or reduce the impact of a relapse.
“We thought we knew all of the things our population needed, but from trial and error our population have taught us what we need to focus on – which is relapse and recovery,” Basaraba said.
From left, Candace Kleiboer, Jessica Little, Carol Adams, Shawn Dagenais, Linda Cania, Ashlee Suidak, Drew Ballantyne, Laura Basaraba, are among the staff members at the Family Treatment Centre. As many as eight mothers and their children (up to age 12) can be accommodated at the inpatient addictions treatment facility in Prince Albert. Moms usually have 2-3 children each, but could come with as many as six.
The biggest difference from this program to a regular treatment program is having a mom with their children as a family unit. While most of the moms have two or three children, there is capacity for a mom to come with as many as six children. The children are up to age 12, with a daycare for younger ones and teacher from the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division for those of school age.
Basaraba said having the moms and children together removes a barrier to access treatment. It also provides a safe place for them to recover and work together as a family. With the children at the centre, the moms see them every day, interact with others moms and children, and help develop coping skills as parents that will assist in maintaining their recovery.
“The children are such an important part of this program. It changes the way we do treatment for our moms,” Basaraba said. “It often changes their recovery because the whole family is included in this. We have a really strong focus on effective parenting strategies, positive parenting strategies. A healthy family is our goal.”
Basaraba said there are discussions about healthy environments, responding to behaviour issues, and doing so in a way that is healthy for them and their children. It helps the moms develop a routine and practices over the six weeks, working as family unit for six weeks rather than coming back to them after a solo treatment program.
The program has continuous admissions when there is an opening. While one goal is to reduce wait times for those seeking treatment, Basaraba said a benefit has been having those near the end of their program work as mentors for those just starting.
Jane echoes Basaraba’s comments about the importance of having her daughter with her during the program and the support from the others she met while at the Family Treatment Centre.
“I was lonely at nights and my daughter and I struggled with the new and very busy routines we had during our stay,” Jane said. “I had a shift in attitude. I was here by choice and not requirement. I was given this amazing opportunity that was not available to me before. I realized this was the light at the end of my dark tunnel.”
Jane said the counselors and other staff became like family, and that they were always available for support. She said having the children as part of everyday activities was a great environment to learn how to continue into the real world after treatment by learning to handle life with children, hand in hand with her own recovery.
“I learned so much about myself and started laying out the path of my recovery. When I left Family Treatment Centre I was a different person,” Jane said. “I had hope, I had faith, and I found a love for myself and my own spirituality which had been missing in my life for so long.”
Jane said over the past two years, life in recovery after treatment has not been a straight line, and that at times she has struggled with staying on track.
“Fortunately for me, I had gained some amazing strength, tools, and many connections to the recovery community that I didn’t have before,” Jane said. “It didn’t take me long to get back on track. And I give absolute credit to my time at Family Treatment Centre, and to the women who showed so much compassion, unwavering faith in all of us who came to put ourselves back together. That laughed with us and cried, showed their beautiful humanity and strength, and helped us find our own.”