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CHICAGO — Helping moms heal and keeping families together — that is the aim of a program the childcare organization Maryville developed with DCFS for mothers who are recovering from drug addiction.

“One of the things that we found and we’re in conversation with DCFS about was that there was really a gap in services for women who were requiring substance abuse recovery and treatment and in an environment where they could be with their children,” Nina Aliprandi, Family Services Division Director for Maryville Academy, said.

The recovery home in West Town houses women ages 18-to-35 and their children from birth to age 10. They typically stay between six and nine months, getting around-the-clock support. Each family is monitored by DCFS workers or caseworkers from private agencies contracted by DCFS.

“I’ve changed a lot from being here,” said participant, Natalie Breese. “I just want to know how to deal with life on life’s terms and get as much coping skills and life skills as I can being here, and parenting skills as well.” Since the home opened in 2016, nearly 70 moms have completed the program.

WGN’S Gaynor Hall talks to current and former participants as we continue our series, Protecting Children: Examining DCFS.

Photojournalist Michael D’Angelo contributed to this report.

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