Five Questions With Jessica Salter

Jessica Salter | Director of development, Amos House

1. When was the Amos House Mother-Child Reunification Program started and what is its goal? The … program opened in 2010 to offer recovery-based housing and reunification support to mothers who have lost custody of their children for reasons surrounding addiction and/or incarceration.

2. Explain what kinds of 24-hour support are provided to the women staying in the house. The mothers and children … have an individualized case plan specific to their goals and needs. They work with a team … to help them learn how to be good parents and identify and navigate a path to personal and financial stability. At the MCRP house, there are both day and overnight staff.

3. How long is the average stay, or is it a set period, and do the children attend school at home or in schools? We ask each mother to make a commitment to stay in the MCRP for at least a year. In our experience, this time frame has been the tipping point for long-term success. But the reality is each family stays as long as needed. For some, that is a year and for others with more substantial barriers to stability, it may mean a longer stay. While in the program, children attend local schools or day care while their mother works or attends training programs.

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4. Why is this program a better alternative than having the child in a foster home while the parent seeks treatment? Every mother who moves into the MCRP house has demonstrated that she is dedicated to being a custodial parent to her child or children, has amassed at least three months of sobriety and has a realistic reunification plan in place. Many of the children are in foster care and some have been temporarily placed in the care of family members. In all cases, it has been determined that reunifying the mother and child is the primary goal. Research shows that children do better in almost all indicators of success when raised in the care of their parents. For the moms in this program, their addiction is a reality of their lives, but they are invested in their recovery. … With family-centered recovery programs such as MCRP, we can address the holistic needs of the entire family.

5. How is this program funded – through specific donations, a grant or through the Amos House general budget? The reunification programs at Amos House [MCRP and Fatherhood Program] are primarily funded with private dollars.