The Parents and Children’s Program (the Program) at Eagle Vale is part of our Reconnecting Families suite of services, and is the only one in NSW in which parents can retain care of their child/ren during residential rehabilitation treatment. The Project will enable us to help more parents develop new life skills and a safe home environment for their child/ren, support restoration and reduce the future need for out-of-home care.
In 2019, OHNSW received funding of $2 million to launch the $4 million Parent’s and Children’s Program Expansion Project (the Project).
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Odyssey House NSW (OHNSW) Parent’s and Children’s Program (the Program) is one of just a few Australian residential services which enable parents to undergo treatment for alcohol and other drug misuse (AOD) while living with their children in a safe and supportive environment. It is the only such program in NSW and in Australia there is large unmet need for residential treatment across the spectrum of family setup; single fathers, mothers, couples, parents seeking restoration of care, and pregnant women.
In 2019, OHNSW received a private donation of $1 million which was matched by $1 million from the NSW Ministry of Health to launch the Parent’s and Children’s Program Expansion Project (the Project). An independent feasibility study recommended we expand the program by knocking down and rebuilding our Eagle Vale facility, south of Sydney, as modification of the existing building and accommodation is structurally and economically unfeasible.
The new Eagle Vale rehabilitation centre will double the number of families we can treat in our 3-12-month residential programs from 4-7 to 16 family groups.
Existing accommodation comprises 12 rooms for single mothers with one child, however variations in family setup mean capacity is often reduced by 25 per cent. From 2016-19 the participation of single fathers grew from 16 to 40 percent, and on average 12 per cent of participating families include couples.
With $2 million of the required $4 million in hand and planning underway, OHNSW appointed APP Contractors in July 2020 to manage the Project. A development application will be submitted to Council in 2020, with approval anticipated in 2021 and construction complete in March 2022. OHNSW has requested capital funding from Federal and State Governments, which have indicated strong support.
The strength of this program is that it and provides education and therapy to help parents develop a safe home environment for their child/ren, support restoration and reduce the future need for out-of-home care. Parents receive guidance from family support workers and participate in the Positive Parenting Program, Circle of Security and other groups to improve their parenting skills. Children attend early childhood centres or primary school in the local area, and receive psychological, pediatric and other specialist support to break the cycle of generational drug and alcohol misuse.
OHNSW programs and services support the National Drug Strategy 2017–2026 and align with the health and community goals of the NSW Government’s plan NSW 2021.
Our priority is to maximise the impact of project funds to best help families break the cycle of generational drug and alcohol misuse. To find more information about how to support our work search ‘Odyssey House make a difference’.
1 Gruenert, Ratnam & Tsantefski 2004, p.5
2 Figure 3 National plan for the Health of Children and Young People March 2018