Wooldridge – $4 million for new unit to help mums beat addiction

Wooldridge – $4 million for new unit to help mums beat addiction

8New drug withdrawal facility for new mothers and their babies

A first for Victoria in tackling inter-generational disadvantage

The Victorian Coalition Government is building better access to
treatment services for vulnerable Victorians

The Victorian Coalition Government will invest $4 million in the 2014-2015 Victorian State Budget to build a new 4-bed residential unit to help new mothers beat drug or alcohol addiction.

Minister for Mental Health Mary Wooldridge said the facility was the first of its kind to be built in Victoria, ensuring that women and children have a safe and supported residential environment for withdrawal.

“At present Victoria has no residential programs to support mothers, along with their babies, during the withdrawal process,” Ms Wooldridge said.

“This facility will ensure that mothers can tackle their addiction without disrupting the formation of a mother-baby attachment or leaving their infants without adequate care.”

Currently mothers must choose between a residential withdrawal setting, without their babies, or participate in a home-based withdrawal program that may not provide an environment that supports their decision to abstain from drugs or alcohol.

The new mother and baby facility will offer support to cope with withdrawal symptoms, provide back up for their decision to address their drug or alcohol use and offer parenting education.

The facility will be co-located with the UnitingCare ReGen adult alcohol and drug withdrawal service facility in Heidelberg and is expected to open in 2016.

ReGen UnitingCare CEO Laurence Alvis said the construction of the new facility was a very positive move for mothers who had substance abuse issues, their babies and their families.

“Although Victoria has rehabilitation services for mothers with their babies, we have not, until now, had a withdrawal service that could assist them in this important step towards sustainable change,” Mr Alvis said.

“It will hopefully contribute to a reduction in inter-generational disadvantage.”

Ms Wooldridge said mothers with drug addictions were likely to come to the attention of child protection authorities, police and the courts.

“Getting new mothers off drugs is critical for themselves, their babies, their families and the community. This new drug treatment facility for new mothers and their babies will fill a critical service gap and build on reforms underway in the specialist drug and alcohol treatment system,” Ms Wooldridge said.

“This is the first investment in new residential withdrawal beds in Victoria in 14 years.

“The Coalition Government continues to support access to an effective treatment system through investing in new facilities like this one for mothers and babies which provides a safe setting in which the mother can begin her journey to recovery while supporting the safety and wellbeing of both mother and baby.”

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