Portage’s Mother and Child Program celebrates an emotional 20 years

Click to play video: 'Portage celebrates 20 years of unique mother and child program' Portage celebrates 20 years of unique mother and child program
WATCH ABOVE: For 20 years, Portage has been helping mothers recover from substance abuse. The unique program is the only one in Quebec that allows mothers to keep custody of their children while they receive treatment. A celebration was held at the centre to mark the important milestone – Jun 21, 2016

MONTREAL – Since 1996, Portage has offered a unique and innovative substance abuse rehabilitation program to allow mothers with young children and pregnant women to maintain custody of their children while in treatment.

“Portage saved my life,” Kasandra Ardelli said.

At the anniversary celebration Tuesday, Ardelli, a graduate of the Mother and Child Program stepped forward to share her experience, hand-in-hand with her daughter.

“I’ve come a long way from where I was before,” she said.

“I’m five-and-a-half years sober and I couldn’t ask for a better place to be.”

The program allows mothers to bond with their children while they address their addiction to drugs, their role as a parent and problems of isolation, health care, family and interpersonal relationships.

More than 1,400 mothers have taken part in the program over the last 20 years.

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“For me, it’s very emotional because of the fact that I did it with [my children] and I was taught how to raise children when I couldn’t even raise myself,” Ardelli said.

She spent a good two years volunteering at Portage after her rehabilitation, spending time at the Mother and Child Program, as well as some teen rehabilitation programs.

“If you think that you can’t do it and you think that nobody understands you, pick up your pride and just go. Just help yourself.”

Ardelli encourages anyone suffering from substance abuse to educate themselves on what Portage has to offer. Information can be found on its website.

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