Children of addicts can seek refuge at Noah's Ark center

January 03, 1995|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Sun Staff Writer

The Rev. Hulan Marshall was angry. He had seen too many children neglected by mothers addicted to drugs.

"I've had parents crying to me that they have neglected their children and that they need help," he said. "I wondered if anyone was really trying to make a difference."

Mr. Marshall, of First Baptist Church in Annapolis, decided he could make a difference. Next month he will open Noah's Ark Family Care Center on Pleasant Street in Annapolis.

"It will be a safe place for these kids to stay until their parents can get stabilized," said Mr. Marshall, who started planning the center after dealing with families in public housing projects last summer.

Members of his church, Second Chance Ministry and Associated Builders and Contractors in Annapolis have been working on the vacant house for the past two months.

The Annapolis Housing Authority is covering some of the project's $80,000 cost. Annapolis Banking and Trust raised the $3,200 needed for the down payment. Hechinger, Johnson Lumber and Women in Construction, a local business group, are also contributing money and supplies.

The building, which will house six to 10 children each month, will be redesigned from plans drawn by architect Russell Mobley. . It will contain bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen and a living area. A staff of social workers and volunteers will be there 24 hours a day, Mr. Marshall said.

"The kids will go to school, and transportation and three meals a day will be provided," he said. "Also, clothing and counseling will be available."

The center needs a state license so that it can apply for grants, Mr. Marshall said. Thirty- to 60-day treatment programs for the parents can be paid for by Medicare.

Mr. Marshall said he hopes that the opening of the center will remove a major obstacle for parents seeking drug treatment. The parents often say that they have no one to care for their children while they are hospitalized to break their addictions, he said. The grandparents are often "tapped out," he said.

"They tell their kids it's their problem, and the women just keep using drugs, and they become overwhelmed," he said.

That's where the Noah's Ark center can make a difference.

"I was so angry at what I saw," he said. "When you are using drugs, you don't care about your kids or your home."

Parents who want to use the Noah's Ark center will be required to join an after-care program that will help them learn how to rear their children, said Mr. Marshall.

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