Drug rehabilitation centre Fresh Hope, which allowed mothers recovering from addiction to live with their children, has sadly closed. Founders John and Karen Bartlett have helped almost 400 women during their time operating Fresh Hope.

Member for Toowoomba South David Janetzki said Fresh Hope kept children out of foster care as it was one of the only centres in Queensland which kept mothers and their children together during its 12 month rehabilitation program.

“Many mothers who sought help at Fresh Hope came from a long line of addicts who grew up in foster care themselves and then lost their own children because of their drug or alcohol addiction,” Mr Janetzki said. “Fresh Hope empowers mothers to develop a drug-free, healthy lifestyle for their families.”

Mr Bartlett said Fresh Hope lost its $300,000 annual federal funding to pay staff in 2016 because of disagreements over how to run the program.

“We were given our new contract at 3pm on the Thursday and told if it was not signed and sent back by noon Friday and the federal election was called we would lose our funding,” Mr Bartlett said. “I didn’t have time to negotiate and sure enough the election was called that weekend.”

Mr Bartlett has appealed to both State and Federal Governments for funding, to no avail.

Tamara, 26, was the last mother to finish the Fresh Hope program in December, admitting it saved her life. “Before I came to Fresh Hope my life was messed up,” she said. “I lost my kids and my life was all about drugs, violence and crime.”

Tamara’s two daughters under four years old, Dekota Roseand Deliha Rayan, had been in foster care for 18 months. “I was on drugs for 12 years but then at Fresh Hope I started detoxing from all the drugs, I got my kids back and I became me again.”

Tamara is now living in her own home with her children who think of Mr and Mrs Bartlett as grandparents. “Fresh Hope was amazing and I am just so happy – it brings peace to my heart to have my children at home with me.”

Readers also enjoyed this story about TACAPS students donating to the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation.