Addicted: Last Chance Mums – a press release from Trevi House

Trevi House

The Thrive nursery plays an integral role at Trevi House. In a recent Panorama broadcast, the BBC explored the methods used to enable mothers struggling with addiction to get back on track. The following press release has come from Trevi House, alongside a note from our Chief Operating Officer, Paula Holbrook.

Thrive sponsors special screening of BBC’s expose on mothers in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction in Devon

More than 170 people came together at a special event at Plymouth University on Wednesday 7th February organised by Plymouth-based charity, Trevi House.  The event included a special screening of its BBC Panorama programme, Addicted: Last Chance Mums which aired on national television last week.  Attendees included key business people, councillors, third sector representatives and staff from Trevi House.

Drug or alcohol addiction among mothers is a growing problem in the UK.  A child is taken into care every 16 minutes, with two thirds of cases linked to parental substance misuse.

Children’s care services are in crisis as the number of children taken into care has reached a record high with almost 73,000 children currently in care across the UK.  Experts predict a funding gap of £2billion by 2020.

In the programme, Panorama highlighted Trevi House which first opened its doors in 1993 – founded by the late Roma French, mother of comedian and author, Dawn French.  The centre is the only one of its kind in the UK exclusively for mothers and children to stay together during treatment.  It has a significant success rate with six out of every 10 families leaving together with mum substance free for good to start a new life and with no need for their child(ren) to go into care.  Babies and children get to stay with their mothers and mum is empowered to be the best mum she can be.

Despite this, there is little funding made available for mothers to access life changing treatment centres like Trevi House.

Losing a child causes considerable pain and grief for the mother and some women will go on to have another child to try and help heal the loss.  As there is little help or support available, the root cause of their addiction (in many cases the trauma of domestic abuse) is never addressed.  In some cases, mothers have had up to five children removed. Repeated removals like this are causing a huge strain on care services.  In the UK between 2007 and 2014, over 11,000 mothers had more than one child removed.

Trevi House believes that all measures must be taken to try and maintain a family relationship and avoid children going into care where possible as research indicates that this leads to better chances for both mother and baby later in life.

The BBC Panorama programme shines a light on some of the mothers who have accessed Trevi House’s services recently. Upon recovery, many mums – who are referred to Trevi House from all across the UK – choose to set up home in the South West as it’s a fresh start away from their previous lives and they feel safe.  Mothers go on to care for their children, access further education and find employment.  It’s literally saved hundreds of lives over the past 25 years.

Hannah Shead, CEO of Trevi House stated: “I am very proud of all that we achieve here at Trevi House and it’s been wonderful to have had the opportunity to share that with the wider population. The sad reality is that instead of being shown compassion and understanding, our women have all too often been met with judgement. I really hope that this film begins to challenge the stigma associated with maternal drug and alcohol use and demonstrates that with the right help and support, lasting change is absolutely possible.”

The Thrive Approach at Trevi House

Thrive has provided team members at Trevi with tools to help them support families in their care.

Dr Paula Holbrook, Thrive’s Chief Operating Officer said,

“We are extremely proud of our involvement with Trevi House and wholeheartedly support them in the amazing work they do to turn lives around. We are delighted that part of this process has been the use of the Thrive Approach and it was wonderful to see this at work in the programme.”

This local event was made possible thanks to the support of The Thrive Approach, Matrix Diagnostics and The Family Law Company.  Readers can still catch the programme on BBC iPlayer and are encouraged to visit the Trevi House website for more information.