LIMA — The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Allen, Auglaize and Hardin Counties and Rhodes State College Early Learning Center are partnering together on a special childcare service for parents receiving treatment for substance use disorder.
The organizations both said they were excited to announce the endeavor, which can cover children from ages six weeks old to six years or not yet in kindergarten, weekdays from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Lima Family YMCA.
“They are happy to serve that population with us and they understand the needs and know how challenging childcare is, in general, let alone for the population that we’re trying to target,” Tammie Colon, the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board Executive Director said about Rhodes State College. “They were amazingly creative and they’re equally excited to see families be able to stay together and children to get good care while their parents are also receiving care.”
“It’s something that we both felt that there was a need in the community for and we were just excited that we could build a partnership together to fulfill that need,” Rhodes State Director Brandy Theis said.
Colon said that providing this care to people seeking treatment at area agencies could have a big impact on the success of those treatments.
“We identified that parents were having a hard time following through with treatment due to the lack of childcare and its affordability,” she said. “While the parents are in treatment we have family members that agree to take care of the kids, but they don’t have childcare available quickly either so this is really just to ensure that family and individuals in treatment have the opportunity to get support while the parents get treatment.”
The only requirement to take advantage of the program is that you must be receiving substance use treatment from an area agency in partnership with the board. But from there, Rhodes State College will be handling all the needs that a child’s care will demand thanks to a grant that the board is using toward funding the service.
“The daycare has been flexible with allowing individuals to bring their children for short periods of time for a few days a week,” Colon added. “We’re purchasing the service from as they are a certified childcare agency and they’re hiring the staff and providing the room and activities. We’re purchasing the daycare, but in a flexible and unique way so that we can serve the most people that need it in the way they need it.”
It will mean a lot for both parties to see parents taking advantage of the program.
“We know, especially with the pandemic that mental health issues have been on the rise and we have a lot of children out there that need care,” Theis said. “It really goes hand in hand, so we’re just excited that we’re able to provide that opportunity. And we already know that we provide quality childcare and that these children are going to get the best services possible while they’re here.”
Families involved in a treatment program should already be getting information on the program, but to learn more about it anyone can get in touch with the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board or the Rhodes State College Early Learning Center.
Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.