Directions_cover_th.gifAcross from the new Please Touch Museum in West Philadelphia stands one of the city’s only substance abuse treatment facilities that allows women to enroll with their children. At Interim House West, women check in to overcome alcohol or drug abuse, but leave with much more.

Currently 20 families reside in the facility. Women are permitted to bring up to three children no older than 12 years. School-aged children are enrolled in schools close to Interim House West and come home each day to a staff trained and ready to help them. From 3:00 p.m. when school lets out until 4:45 p.m. when the mothers come to claim them, the children have snacks, get help with their homework and more. The library on the second floor has recently tripled in size thanks to donations by a local bookstore. The computer lab often provides the children’s first exposure to the internet.

During the summer, the children take part in special camp activities. Last year’s program was geared toward world cultures. This year, Interim House West is getting on the “Going Green” bandwagon with trips to the Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park and the Philadelphia Zoo.

But the program at Interim House West is more than field trips and academic tutoring. Each week the mothers take a parenting class, teaching them how to create positive, healthy environments once they leave the program. From learning how to properly play with or discipline their children to dealing with more volatile issues such as sexual abuse, program participants leave Interim House West with a foundation to stay clean and stay together.