(Submitted by Michelle Davis, Program Coordinator)
Imagine life where you spend 21 hours a week in treatment…That’s right, Monday through Friday 9am to 1pm, you are in Intensive Outpatient treatment group. In addition, you must see your chemical dependency counselor for an individual session once a week. You are also responsible for maintaining contact with your mental health counselor, child protective services, HRDC, Office of Public Assistance, and for attending at least two self help meetings a week. It is overwhelming to just think about. Somehow, our residents hold and keep such strict schedules.
All of our residents have a substance abuse disorder diagnosis, and most are required to complete Intensive Outpatient. The average length of time spent in Intensive Outpatient for the majority of our residents is a 6 to 8 month commitment. After completing treatment, many use the time previously spent in treatment working on their GEDs, attending college, or completing education courses at with the Lincoln Center.
Each day, our families get up, get their children ready, and are out the door to daycare before 8am. Most of our residents do not have a driver’s licenses, so they walk the 2 miles to the mental health center. Each week, residents are responsible for contacting HRDC, case managers (from Mental Health Center, and Second Chance Homes), Child protection case workers (if CPS is involved), probation /parole, and all other necessary service providers. Our residents are responsible for attending at least two self help meetings a week, seeking safety, visitations with their children, visits with Family Support Network for further parenting skills building, Second Chance Homes (SCH) Family Building Meeting, house meeting, and participation in the Yellowstone County Family Drug Treatment Court (if involved).
Residents are also responsible for keeping their children up to date on medical and dental checkups, as well as completing neuropsychological evaluations and following recommendations. Residents attend consumer credit counseling, parenting, nutrition, and sexual education classes. Second Chance Homes also provides life skills classes for our families to help them gain skills to be more self sufficient once they have completed the program.
The majority of our residents have their children with them, so all this work has to be completed by 5:30pm, as most daycares close by 6pm, and child care assistance will only cover up to 45 hours per week. In the evenings, residents of the Main House are responsible for preparing dinner for the whole house once a week, spending dedicated time with their children, and completing a bedtime ritual for the children to be in bed by 8pm. After the children are in bed, residents complete their house chores, and work on various things like treatment group homework, mental health homework, and various applications for other resources available in our community. Then off to bed, to start all over again!