Phoenix Center opens Children's Therapy Building

GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) - A unique residential rehab facility is expanding today. They are adding onto their efforts to help children impacted by drug abuse, by giving them a building of their own.

This facility allows mothers who are battling addiction to have their children alongside them through out the process.

The Family Effect is the 501(c)3 charity attached to the Phoenix Center in Greenville. Officials with the Family Effect told us that they are one of three facilities in the state who have this set up where a mom can be treated with her children by her side.

Jessica Lyons,resident, says "She’s been there right there with me and gave me motivation every day to make… You know to stay on the right path."

Lyons, now lives here with her daughter, and says she joined the program in April of this year when she realized that her battle with opioids would cause her to lose one of the people who she loved the most. 

"Well Olivia had to go into foster care,"says Lyons.

We asked, "so that was the breaking point?"

Lyons replied, "yes that was the point ... like what am I doing with life. Our children mean the world to us... sometimes we make mistakes, but we don’t want to be separated from our kids." 

That's why the Phoenix Center opened the Serenity Village. They say it is not just for children who have been directly affected by drug abuse, while they are in the womb, but by living in a home with a parent who is struggling.

Aileen Gallagher, Community Engagement Coordinator for the Family Effect, says, "a lot of times, a chaotic lifestyle comes with substance abuse. There are a lot of people in and out of the house, a lot of times and a lot of times mothers feel guilty so they just want to say yes to everything so there’s not a lot of structure in the home so what we work on building routines, building structure with the kids and working on behavioral issues that they may have as a result of the addiction."

They are adding a children's therapy building where they can expand on the work they are already doing. 

Gallagher says that they work with the children who may have adapted to the chaotic life style and help them adapt to their new life once their parent has re-entered their community after rehab. 

Gallagher says "a lot of times it looks like a child that doesn’t listen or a child that doesn’t wanna follow the rules, but it’s really just those are the instincts that they learn to work in the environment that they’ve been in so we are changing that environment. We are working with Mom to change that environment so the child hast to learn to adapt to this new healthy environment."

Safford believes that this sets them up for re-entering the community well so that when they do go back home they are one cohesive unit.

Allison Safford, Director of Community Engagement for Family Effect, says, "we know that if a mom and a child separate and heal separately, it is still a crisis when they come back together so we know that could lead to re-occurrences."

Lyons believes, "there’s really no excuse. You can do it if you want to do it you just have to want to do it."

This is the epitome of a village helping to raise a child.

This new area will have a new classroom for what they call the Wobblers, that period between infancy and being a toddler. 

One way that you can support this program and people like Jessica who are nearing the end of their process is by donating furniture and supplies to make their new homes complete when they leave the residences here to reenter into the community.

To apply for the program, they do assessments over the phone. Anyone who wants to explore this option, can call 864-467-3881?

Safford told us that addiction impacts roughly 70,000 people in Greenville County and that is just the individuals who are directly suffering. She says that doesn’t include the family and friends that are impacted.

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