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#SpotlightOnMDSX: The Center for Great Expectations

As part of the 2022 Women's History Month theme, we are putting a #SpotlightOnMDSX charities that provide healing and promote hope for women in our community.  

Young women with histories of multiple traumatic experiences have little hope to escape the destructive, generational cycle into which they were born.  Add an unplanned pregnancy, and despair and dysfunction can overwhelm both mother and child.  The destructive cycle linking homelessness and foster care most often starts with single mothers who have a history of sexual abuse and histories of trauma. 

As single parents lacking skills and childcare options, women can “fall through the cracks of society” if they do not receive supportive services to allow their children to thrive.  These women are at risk for relapse and in danger of losing parental rights while perpetuating the cycle of abuse, neglect, and cause trauma to their young children.  The Center for Great Expectations’ programs address past traumatic events that dramatically increase risks for chronic mental and physical health problems, addictions, and suicide.  At The Center for Great Expectations, a woman has the opportunity to engage in long-term recovery, and demonstrate to DCP&P, the Court system, and most of all to herself and child, that she is capable of being a healthy, loving, independent mother.

The Center for Great Expectations serves over 1,000 individuals annually through six dynamic and comprehensive service programs, including expanded residential programs, treating both adult women and adolescent mothers and their children; an outpatient center, specializing in gender-specific treatment for women and men with substance use and or co-occurring disorders, supportive housing providing 28 units in Somerset and Middlesex Counties, a vibrant and enriching child development center and an in-home program providing clinical and case management service to mothers and women in recovery from opioid use disorder. 
The Center for Great Expectations is a leader in the delivery of services to this most vulnerable population in New Jersey.  Our commitment to expanding and continually refining services to maximize impact and outcomes affirms its ongoing success.  Our highly trained staff continuously addresses the evolving needs of this population of women.  The Center retains an ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) certified psychiatrist as a medical director, and the clinical team is led by Doctoral and Master level clinicians, working alongside Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselors, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselors, psychiatric and registered nurses, and other mental health practitioners.  We partner with local universities and training programs to provide graduate student and CADC internships.

Our programs are evaluated based on expected outcomes, which include an increase in abstinence rates: decrease in PTSD symptoms: increase in self-efficacy; development of life, coping and parenting skills; continuation of education; and a healthy discharge plan that supports their recovery process and provides a safe and healthy environment for each mother and her child.
A robust data collection & evaluation process in our residential and outpatient programs guides our quality improvement processes.  We have a full time Research Coordinator on staff facilitating the data collection process by working closely with Program Managers to create a system of collecting data that does not overload staff.  Data is collected and analyzed with the assistance of Rutgers University School of Social Work Research staff via the Qualtrics survey tool.  The Research Coordinator oversees these activities and reports the results to stakeholders such as state licensing agencies, our Board of Directors, and corporate and community donors.
Your support will help a woman break a generational cycle of abuse, neglect, and homelessness. Since January of 2020, our Adult Women’s program assisted in the healthy reunifications of nineteen women with their children and prevented the removal of thirteen children from the care of their parent. Thanks to support from donors like you, we kept 32 families together!   

“Because of the gift of this program, I am alive, I am safe, I am a healthy mother and a woman in recovery. Despair and fear have fled, and hope is alive in me and my daughter.”   -Former Client, The Center for Great Expectations