News & Events

Newsletter – July 2014

1 Aug 2014

Parents’ & Children’s Program – breaking the generational cycle of addiction

Odyssey House is only one of a handful of rehabilitation centres in Australia that cater for men and women with dependent children, enabling parents to undertake treatment while their children live with them.

Residents participating in the Odyssey House Parents’ and Children’s Program are accommodated with their children in two self-contained, purpose-built cottages within the grounds of the main rehabilitation centre. The cottages can house eight families in private rooms, with access to a communal kitchen and dining room, ensuring family members can live together where appropriate and also interact with other families with similar experiences.

The program is dedicated to meeting the individual needs of the parent with their drug rehabilitation and parenting, the young child/children with their educational, emotional and physical development, and the family’s wellbeing as a whole. On average, the program assists 25 families each year.

In families where alcohol or other drugs are being misused, behaviour is frequently unpredictable and chaotic, emotions range from loving to withdrawn, and communication is unclear or conflicting. Often these families have a non-existent or inconsistent structure, a lack of rules and a strong sense of insecurity. The program therefore focuses on providing structure, consistency and routine within a safe environment. For example, residents will make breakfast for themselves and their children, get them ready for school and do the school drop off and pick up, and undertake after-school activities. While the children are at school the parents participate in the Odyssey House residential rehabilitation program to help overcome their substance misuse, which includes individual treatment and group therapy, as well as working in their assigned job function e.g. cooking, maintaining the property, painting, gardening, driving, or administrative activities. This is something that every resident has to do and is part of living in the therapeutic community, which teaches them responsibility and team work.

The key long-term goal of the Odyssey House Parents’ and Children’s Program is to break the generational cycle of drug misuse and its attendant behaviours by overcoming personal issues underlying drug problems and developing and nurturing family relationships to help both children and parents to realise their full potential.