In the face of an opioid and heroin epidemic that has claimed thousands of lives and torn apart families, Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance (PFSA), the state leader in child protection, announces a new pilot program that strengthens parenting skills for Pennsylvanians recovering from substance use disorder (SUD). Helping these parents learn healthy coping and parenting skills while balancing the needs of their recovery is the goal of the program which launches in November at select family centers across the state.
“At the heart of all we do at PFSA is ensuring the protection of children. That mission is at the core of our new Families in Recovery curriculum,” said Angela M. Liddle, MPA, president and CEO of PFSA. “Moms and dads in recovery who participate in this program will learn strategies to better cope with raising and disciplining their children, and understanding how to nurture their own wellness and the health of their kids.”
PFSA developed the curriculum and first piloted it successfully last fall at Hamilton Health Center in Harrisburg. The person-first curriculum draws on the latest research in addiction recovery and best practices in parenting, and is inclusive of the 12 Step principles of recovery.
“We want to give parents a safe space where they can acknowledge themselves as individuals, parents, and people in early recovery,” noted Kayla Kressler, MA, director of prevention programs. “The program offers an environment that fosters strengths and resiliencies that help parents in recovery balance the roles and the demands that both of those experiences put on them. The key is to help them develop the social supports they uniquely need to be successful in recovery and in parenting.”
Topics covered in the 7 sessions of the program include:
—Identifying Parent and Family Strengths and Needs
–Understanding How Principles of Recovery Can Be Applied to the Parenting Experience
–Learning and Navigating the Change Process as a Parent and within the Family
–Understanding How Family History Influences Parenting and Communication Style
–Developing an Understanding of Discipline and Development
–Identifying and Practicing Healthy Coping Skills
–Managing Visits and Effective Communication with Caregivers
–Developing a Plan for Individual Self-Care and Family Wellness as Part of the Recovery Experience
The family service and support providers participating in the pilot are:
Family Resource Center of Blair County
Bucks County Family Center
Coatesville Family Center (Chester County)
Columbia County Family Center
Delaware County Family Center
Erie Family Center (Erie County)
Greene County Family Center
Outreach Center for Community Resources (Lackawanna County)
Children’s Advocacy Center (Lawrence County)
Farrell Family Center (Mercer County)
Norristown Family Center-Carson Valley Children’s Aid (Montgomery County)
Perry County Family Center
The sites selected for the statewide pilot expansion are designated as Centers of Excellence in Pennsylvania — medical providers and systems that bring a “whole-person” approach to helping Pennsylvanians recover from SUD. A generous grant from the PA Department of Human Services enables PFSA to offer the program.
PFSA and the Office of Child Development and Early Learning host an interactive facilitator training session November 1 and 2 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at PaTTAN, 6340 Flank Drive, Harrisburg, Pa. 17112. All identified Families in Recovery program facilitators are required to attend this training prior to receiving any program-related materials, and to move forward with program implementation at affiliated Family Centers.