SCOTLAND’S Drugs Policy Minister Angela Constance has opened a national residential rehabilitation centre designed to support women and their children through recovery.

Cowan Grove in Dundee, developed in partnership with Hillcrest Homes and the Stirling-based Aberlour Children's Charity, admitted its first residents in December and can help support four women and their children up to the age of five at any one time.

The Scottish Government has committed £5.5 million in funding over this parliamentary term to support the development of this facility as well as a further house in central Scotland.

Constance said: “We know there is a strong link between women having children removed from their care and risk of drug related death.

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“Keeping mothers and their children together can enhance the effectiveness of treatment and lessen any harmful impact on children.

“That is why I am very pleased to officially open Cowan Grove which further improves the provision of residential rehabilitation services.

“Supporting people into recovery is a key part of our national mission and our commitment to Keep the Promise, which aims to give families the support they need to stay together.”

The services will enable children of women with problematic substance use to stay with their mothers during their recovery.

The development comes two months after the First Minister opened a national family rehabilitation service run by the charity Phoenix Futures in North Ayrshire.

Aberlour Children's Charity chief executive SallyAnn Kelly said: "We are proud to be opening our Mother and Child recovery house in Dundee. It offers a unique rehabilitation service enabling women with problem drug and alcohol issues to keep their young children alongside them as they recover.

“Too many women with these issues were previously refusing to engage with support agencies for fear of their children being removed and taken into care.

"The house will help to improve outcomes for these women and children, reduce deaths of mothers with problem drug use, avoid family breakdown and increase the likelihood of children being cared for by their parents.

“There has already been a very positive response to the new recovery house with applications from all across Scotland and we are very grateful to the Scottish Government for funding this much needed but wonderful new facility.

"We look forward to opening another in the next year in central Scotland."