Addicted Parents with Children

“Forgotten children”
The children of addicted parents or mothers as a rule experience neglect or the absence of the secure relationships and emotional attention that they need for their own development. The children of addicted parents or mothers are usually left to fend for themselves. They are exposed to traumas and overtaxing situations which they cannot cope with on their own. In the relevant literature they are frequently described as “forgotten children”.

Target group
Drug-addicted parents who wish to or must change their SUD  problem and the relationship with their children.

Risk of dependency-related disorders
Children can develop role patterns that involve a reversal in the roles of the parent/mother-child relationship (parentalisation). This is inhibiting and damaging for the children’s personal development. In this way, in many cases, anxiety, depression and other psychological symptoms develop, as well as the risk of developing dependency-related disorders themselves in adulthood.

During pregnancy
Children who are exposed to the toxic effect of alcohol and drugs in the womb during pregnancy may already come into the world with damage to their health (growth disorders, deformations, dysfunctions of the central nervous system etc.). Special attention must be paid to these problems in the therapeutic care and therapy/rehabilitation – with special preventative measures and therapy options for parents/mothers and their children.

Therapy/re­ha­bi­li­ta­ti­on
Mothers who are addicted and want to live an abstinent life are admitted to the Bin­der social welfare and young people’s welfare institute together with their children. A focus is on the care and therapy/rehabilitation of the addicted mothers. Here it is a question of support in the development of parenting abilities and the shaping of relations with the children. Work- and occupational therapy, clinical-health psychology, psychotherapy, special group options for mothers and/or fathers, self-help forums, support in child care, further education and training, medical and psychiatric care, care and mentoring by social workers, and sport and leisure time are the main cornerstones.

The Ma­ri­en­hof young people’s welfare institute/specialist hospital has been offering therapy/rehabilitation for SUD substituting parents and their children since 2012.

The welfare of the children always comes first
What is important here is social-pedagogic, psychotherapeutic and clinical-health psychological measures that are adapted to the individual children’s requirements and of course offer the chance to attend external kindergartens and schools.

Objective
The main objective is prevention and breaking the cycle of SUD  as well as promoting the development of the children, preventing detrimental living conditions and supporting the offer of reliable, stable relationships.
Since 2013 a cooperation contract has been in place between MAG ELF (Office for Young People and the Family) and the Vienna drug assistance network (SDHN) in relation to the care of pregnant women/mothers/fathers/parents who consume prescription and non-prescription psychoactive substances, and the care of their children.