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Seabrook House mother and children's program halts

September 22, 2009
by Richard Peck, Editor-in-Chief
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Successful MatriArk alcohol and drug dependence treatment program victim of resource reductions

Faced by a rate reduction in one of three state contracts supporting the program, New Jersey-based Seabrook House is discontinuing its groundbreaking MatriArk program at the end of this year. Noting the rate reduction imposed at the end of last year, Seabrook House president Edward Diehl says, “We sustained the program through 2009, but had to give the state four months’ notice (this September) that we wouldn’t renew the other two contracts. It’s a sign of the sad economic condition our state is in.”

Founded as a CSAT (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment) research demonstration project in 1993, MatriArk allows women in treatment for alcohol or drug dependence to reconnect with their children up to age 12 and live in the Seabrook facility dedicated to the program. The 42,000-square foot facility was significantly upgraded in 2006 to accommodate 36 families, rather than the previous 17, at the behest of the state Division of Addiction Services. “We had found,” Diehl explains, “that more than 62% of women who had gone through the program were drug- or alcohol-free one year after discharge. But,” he added, “we have determined that a slow reduction of resources committed to the program will not achieve those results.”

Noting that, in testifying for the rate increase before the State Assembly, “I was sitting with the developmentally disabled, the emotionally damaged and people with brain injuries, and I was arguing for moms with alcohol and drug problems.” The effort, he says, failed.

Diehl says that, starting in 2010, the MatriArk facility may be used for new extended care programming for women. “Seabrook House has a particular reputation for being good at serving women,” he noted.

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