Tips on parenting after drug addiction – INTERVIEW with Brandywine Counseling & Community Services

Tips on parenting after addiction…because when you start addiction recovery, that’s when the real work begins! More here from experts Brandywine Counseling & Community Services in Deleware.

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Parenting in recovery: Far from easy!

Most parents want what is best for their newborns. However, drug addiction can hijack the brain’s reward center. It can compel repeated use, dependence, and can even rewire circuitry.

This is why continued use of substances during pregnancy may be due to habituation rather than a lack of information or concern about the effects of substance use. And a woman who continues to use during pregnancy should be referred for a substance abuse treatment assessment.

So what can mothers (and fathers) new to recovery do when they are expecting a child or are coping with parenting? We’ve invited Dr. Lynn Fahey, Chief Executive Officer at Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, to share with us more on the recovery process for parents dealing with drug addiction. In this interview, we discuss best ways to parent after recovery from drug addiction and the unique challenges that parents face while starting treatment.

If you have any additional questions or want to leave a comment, please use the section at the bottom of the page. We try to respond to all questions with a personal and prompt reply!

ADDICTION BLOG: What are some of the biggest challenges faced by mothers (or mothers-to-be) new to addiction recovery?

BRANDYWINE COUNSELING & COMMUNITY SERVICES: The challenges faced by mothers or mothers-to-be are personal and systemic in nature. In addition, many mothers or mothers-to-be often are struggling with depression and have a history of trauma. Some of the biggest personal challenges involve fear:

  • fear of reprisal from social services
  • fear of family reproach
  • fear of not being able to care for children
  • fear of loss of custody
  • fear of confidentiality breach
  • fear of life changes

The systems barriers women face once they overcome their personal challenges include:

  • lack of treatment programs for pregnant women
  • cost of care
  • absence of child care while in treatment
  • insurance requirements that may limit access to care and waiting lists for treatment
  • lack or culturally accessible treatment
  • lack of transportation
  • lack of time needed to address additional demands from other systems (child welfare and other government assistance program requirements)

ADDICTION BLOG: What resources can mothers use to help overcome those challenges?

BRANDYWINE COUNSELING & COMMUNITY SERVICES: Far too often the resources that mothers or mothers-to-be need are hard to find and limited. The personal challenges are often overcome through outside supports such as extended family members or support services offered by OBGYN or hospital systems. Extended family members, friends or significant others of these women help them face their personal fear and assist them in identifying and accessing treatment services.

Substance use disorders often go untreated until late in pregnancy or are diagnosed at time of birth. The medical care system and insurance carriers are beginning to recognize the importance and value of Behavioral Health Services. They are beginning to identify and refer women to care as well as offer care coordination earlier in the pregnancy. Care coordination provides navigation for the mothers or mothers to be through the systems barriers.

ADDICTION BLOG: Where can a pregnant expecting mother or a mother coping with drug addiction recovery go for help?

BRANDYWINE COUNSELING & COMMUNITY SERVICES: A woman can contact her insurance provider to determine which behavioral health programs they fund or contact local behavioral health organizations directly.

Also, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and provides a treatment locator on their website. SAMHSA is a leader in public health efforts to advance behavioral health services across the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. On their website’s main page, they have an option to FIND HELP, within that section is a treatment locator. It provides all of the behavioral health treatment organizations by geographical area as well as what those treatment organizations specialize in such as women or pregnant substance abusing women. The page for the treatment locator is:

ADDICTION BLOG: What state resources can she use?

BRANDYWINE COUNSELING & COMMUNITY SERVICES: The state of Delaware provided payment for the uninsured as well as under insured population who meet the finical criteria for assistance. Many of the programs listed on the SAMHSA locator also provide care to those funded by the State of Delaware.

A list of these specific providers can be found on Delaware’s Health and Human Services website. The state of Delaware is currently in the process of expanding its behavioral health services so this list is growing. In addition, they will also be providing funding for Case Management for Pregnant women that specialize in pregnant women suffering from a substance use disorder.

The state’s Division of Medicaid and Medicare through its contract with the Medicaid Managed Care companies are increasing the types of services to this population to include care coordination related to behavioral health issues.

ADDICTION BLOG: What non-profit or private resources are available?

BRANDYWINE COUNSELING & COMMUNITY SERVICES: Programs offered by both are available in resource list provided (see below).

ADDICTION BLOG: What are some parenting skills that women (and men) new to recovery need the most?

BRANDYWINE COUNSELING & COMMUNITY SERVICES: It is often said there is no rule book for how to be a good parent that comes with a newborn child. Most of us learn from how we were raised by our parents.

We know those suffering from substance use disorders often come from families with multiple life challenges:

  • domestic violence
  • poverty
  • trauma
  • mental illness

Like many new parents, those new to recovery need parenting skills that teach them how to be good parents such as:

  • how to respect children
  • how to create routines for themselves and their children
  • importance of repetition to a child’s learning
  • how to build a healthy relationship with their child
  • how to be responsive as a parent
  • understanding the developmental stages of children
  • having realistic expectations

In addition, parents need to develop positive coping mechanisms to manage their stress and build and maintain support systems to call on in times of need.

ADDICTION BLOG: What does an ideal program scenario look like for parenting skills transfers to moms and dads new to recovery?

BRANDYWINE COUNSELING & COMMUNITY SERVICES: There are evidence based practices to address parenting skills transfers. The best ones combine didactic learning for both parent and child with direct observation of interactions between parent and child, and coaching.

The didactic learning should be followed up with practice session or role play as well as interactions with their children. Parents can apply what they have learned such as how to play with their children in a way that builds their relationship or sessions that focus on how parents are to interact with their children when the child is struggling to manager with their emotions and or behavior.

ADDICTION BLOG: Do children and families become a part of the process of parenting skills transfer (in real time)?

BRANDYWINE COUNSELING & COMMUNITY SERVICES: Yes, an evidenced based parenting skills programs called Parent-Child Interaction Therapy provided by licensed professionals uses real time interactions between parent and child which often includes two way mirrors and ways to communicate with the parents during the interaction that does not interrupt the interaction such as an “ear bug”.

ADDICTION BLOG: How long do you think a parent in recovery needs in order to develop solid parenting skills?

BRANDYWINE COUNSELING & COMMUNITY SERVICES: There is no simple answer to this question.

The time to develop solid parenting skills is impacted by numerous factors and therefore is very individualized based on those numerous factors.

ADDICTION BLOG: What about anger management? Is this a skill commonly lacking?

BRANDYWINE COUNSELING & COMMUNITY SERVICES: Emotional management for many in early recovery is a challenge. Anger is one emotion. The way to better manage emotions including anger is through the development of coping skills. For many, stress triggers intense emotions that can lead to negative behaviors. As mentioned earlier, managing stress through positive coping mechanisms is an important skill for parenting as well as it is for managing emotions.

ADDICTION BLOG: What kind of collaboration is best with social services department, especially in the monitoring process or parents in recovery?

BRANDYWINE COUNSELING & COMMUNITY SERVICES: An Integrated Care Model is the best way to collaborate.

One Integrated Care Model is Team Decision Making. Team Decision Making is a collaborative approach used by many child welfare departments. It involves the parents, their support system and all of the different professionals that may be involved in their lives coming together to make shared decisions that are in the best interest of the women and their children.

I have included a list some of these organizations below found through SAMHSA that serve the State of Delaware. They do not all specialize in women treatment issues. The information is taken directly from the internet.


Residential treatment programs who will admit pregnant women

1375 Newark Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348 – 800-662-2438
Description: Inpatient substance abuse treatment program providing short and long-term residential care, including detox services using Suboxone or methadone, relapse prevention and transition planning.
For more information:

BRANDYWINE COUNSELING & COMMUNITY SERVICES: LIGHTHOUSE- only program in state of Delaware that allows women to bring their children into treatment with them.
13726 South Old State Rd., Ellendale, DE 19941 – 302-424-8080
Description: Residential substance abuse and mental health treatment for pregnant women and women with up to two children under eight years old. Assists with job placement and housing upon completion.
For more information:

Outpatient treatment programs

For many people, inpatient treatment is not a viable option due to insurance limitations, work/financial commitments or family issues. The alternative is outpatient care, which enables people to attend a less intensive level of treatment with a more convenient schedule.

1812 Newport Gap Pike, Wilmington, DE 19808
302-999-1106 | 302-999-1753 fax
Description: Provides intensive outpatient treatment designed specifically for substance abusing dually diagnosed young adults (ages 19 to 26) and their families.
For more information:

2500 West 4th St., 2nd floor, Wilmington, DE 19805 – 302-472-0381
Description: Offers assessment, education and outpatient individual and group therapy for clients with substance abuse, co-occurring and behavioral health disorders.
For more information:

Polly Drummond Office Plaza, 1423 Capitol Trail, Building 3 Suites 3302-3304
Newark, DE 197111 – 866-477-5345
Description: Provides outpatient substance abuse treatment and mental health/co-occurring services. Psychiatric evaluations available by Nurse Practitioner.
For more information:

604 W. 10th St., Wilmington, DE 19801 – 302-737-4100
Description: Provides weekly individual and group counseling, including relapse prevention planning, chemical dependency education, psychiatric evaluation and follow-up. Tues 9am-10:30am or Thurs 5:30pm-7pm.
For more information: Gaudenzia

261 Chapman Rd., Suite 102, Newark, DE 19702 – 302-266-3246
Description: Provides outpatient services, case management, and 12-step programming for adults with co-occurring disorders. Doctor and nurse weekly access. Bring photo ID, insurance card & proof of income.
For more information: Horizon House Continuum of Care

Locations in Georgetown, Dover and Laurel, Delaware
Description: Services including detoxification are provided on an outpatient basis where persons can remain in their homes without interruption to their jobs. We offer individual and group counseling as well as medication assisted treatment that is evidence based and proven by extensive research to be effective.
For more information:

5171 West Woodmill Dr., Suite 9, Woodmill Corporate Center, Wilmington, DE 19808
Description: Offers intensive outpatient and partial hospitalization programs, which include individual and group counseling, family assessments and continuing care.
For more information:

625 Orange Street, 2nd Floor, Wilmington, DE 19801 – 302-656-4044
Description: Provides weekly group and individual drug and alcohol treatment services, co-occurring services, family counseling, crisis intervention, prevention education and therapeutic case management services.

Outpatient treatment with Medically Assisted Treatment

263 Quigley Boulevard New Castle, DE 19720 – 302-323-9400
Description: Provides outpatient medication assisted treatment, including methadone and Suboxone maintenance, and long-term methadone/suboxone detoxification. Bring photo ID.
For more information:

2713 Lancaster Ave., Wilmington, DE 19805 – 302-656-2348
Description: Offers outpatient medication maintenance using methadone, Suboxone, Vivitrol, Buprenorphine and Naltrexone. Outpatient treatment required. Bring picture ID, proof of residence & insurance card.
For more information:

2999 Philadelphia Pike, Claymont, DE 19703 – 855-244-7803
Description: Provides assessments and outpatient counseling for clients receiving methadone maintenance, Buprenorphine maintenance or other medically assisted treatment. No pain management.
For more information:

Polly Drummond Office Plaza, 1423 Capitol Trail, Building 3 Suites 3302-3304
Newark, DE 197111 – 866-477-5345
Description: Provides methadone maintenance, Vivitrol, Suboxone, etc., along with outpatient treatment and mental health services to support medication management.
For more information:

910 S. Chapel Street, Ste 102, Newark, DE 19713 – 302-224-1400
Description: Provides Suboxone induction and maintenance services supported by one-on-one outpatient substance abuse treatment and psychiatric care.
For more information:



Northern Delaware Intergroup
For more information:

Southern Delaware Intergroup
For more information:

Description: Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem. Alcoholics Anonymous World Service


Northern Delaware
For more information:

Free State Region
For more information:

Description: NA is a nonprofit fellowship or society of men and women for whom drugs had become a major problem. We are recovering addicts who meet regularly to help each other stay clean. This is a program of complete abstinence from all drugs. Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc.


For more information:

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About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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