Local treatment facility keeps alcohol and drug addicted moms with their children


Monika Settles and Evelyn Rhodes sat next to each other in matching chairs as they fed their infant daughters.

Settles' little one, Camila Storm, is three months old. Rhodes' daughter, Brynleigh is about a month younger.

"She looks so peaceful," said Settles about Camila.

The two mothers are clients at the Maryhaven Women's Care Program in East Columbus. The program allows women who are battling alcohol and drug addiction to get up to four months of treatment in an extended stay facility that looks much like a home.

What's unique about this program: moms are able to enter the program with their children.

"There are four houses here," said Terri Hemphill, licensed chemical dependency counselor and social worker for Maryhaven. "We serve up to 36 women at any given time. sometimes they come expectant and other times they are in need of bringing their child to the facility as well, as they are trying to remove themselves from an unsafe environment."

Janis Mehl is also a mother and has lived at Maryhaven for about two months with her youngest son Dominick.

"I'm a former alcoholic, crack cocaine user," Mehl said. "I was in the streets of Columbus coming from a pretty dark place."

While in Maryhaven, Mehl and other clients are given psychological support, education and job resources, along with tools like meditation.

She says treatment is so much more successful when you are able to stay with your child.

"It's harder to balance but it's worth it," Mehl said. "At the end of the day, I can say I am a mom and I'm actively parenting. So, I'm blessed to be here. He's blessed. It's like a second family."

That's why Maryhaven staff say it is so important to keep mom and child together.

"Often times it's difficult as an adjustment in itself coming into a new life of recovery, then to be distracted with 'Where is my child?' 'Is he or she okay?'... So, that can be a barrier to them staying centered on being one-dimensional on their treatment," said Hemphill.

Maryhaven's Women's Care Program is open to any woman battling addiction who fits the criteria for homelessness.

If you would like to donate to the program, click here.