Program to help moms recover from drug addiction expands

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DIX HILLS -

A program that helps women recover from drug addiction is expanding its operations on Long Island.

At Madonna Heights in Dix Hills, a program known as Morningstar lets young moms live with their small children while undergoing rehabilitation.

"When you separate a child and a family, it doesn't work well in terms of recovery, whether it's substance abuse or other areas," says Keith Little, executive director of SCO Family of Services. "So it's huge to have their children here to keep the family structure together."

The program is now more than doubling the number of moms it can take in. There are currently 11, but a new wing will allow for a total of 23.

When she first entered the program, one woman was pregnant and already had her four children taken out of her custody. She lived there for two years, underwent drug rehab and remembers when she regained custody of all her kids.

"When I got to bring everyone home, and we are living under the same roof -- it's like every night I have to pinch myself to see if it's real," she says.

In the new wing, the rooms are laid out with space for the mother on one side, with an adjacent nursery for their infant. Right now there are about a dozen vacancies.

Residents of the program are referred by state-licensed in- or out-patient rehabilitation programs.

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