Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where do the women come from?
A: Women find Blue Monarch in a variety of ways:
Court referrals from judges or probation officers
Department of Children’s Services
Friends or churches
Women who hear about us while in jail or from outside sources
Q: What is the application process?
A: We usually receive an inquiry from the woman herself or her advocate. If it appears Blue Monarch is a good placement for her, she is instructed to download our application on-line from our website, or we will mail her an application. This application must be completed by the applicant and returned by fax or by mail. Each application is marked by the date it is received and processed in that order. Staff determines if the applicant’s needs are a good fit for Blue Monarch, and if so an interview is scheduled. A face-to-face interview is preferred, but if this is not possible a phone or Skype interview will be conducted. After the interview, the staff will determine possible placement and availability. Although there is typically a waiting list, all applicants are encouraged to submit an application since circumstances often change for those who have already applied.
Q: How long do women stay?
A: We ask for a 1 – 2 year commitment when women come. The core program generally lasts 12 - 18 months. The WINGS Transitional Program for Graduates provides an additional year.
Q: How does a resident become a graduate?
A: Rather than a specific period of time, the graduation process is determined by the successful completion of our curriculum. For some that may happen within twelve months, for others longer. The curriculum includes completing all our required classes as well as volunteer hours and a healthy transition plan into the community.
Q: What does a typical day look like?
A: A typical day begins with devotional time after children are fed breakfast and sent to school or daycare. The day from 8:00 – 4:00 is treated as a typical workday and this time must be filled with productive activities. There are classes and activities that fit within five major categories; counseling, spiritual growth, recovery, life skills, and parenting.
Q: Can the women work?
A: The women are required to take a Work Ethics course when they have reached a level in their recovery when they can take on additional responsibility. At this point they are offered paid employment, if available, through our on-site business that manufactures granola.
Q: What does it cost for a woman to come to Blue Monarch?
A: Women are not charged to come to Blue Monarch and the majority of the women are not in a position to pay. However, once the women are earning an income they are encouraged to donate a portion of their wages to Blue Monarch to assist in the cost of the services they receive.
Q: How many women can you house?
A: This is entirely dependent on the number of children living onsite full-time and visiting on the weekends. The maximum number of families we can house in the core program is eleven – and nineteen if you include our new WINGS transitional housing cottages for graduates.
Q: Do you take women from outside Tennessee?
A: As of 2014, Blue Monarch accepts residents and families from outside the state of Tennessee.
Q: How long can a graduate live in the WINGS transitional cottages?
A: This is determined on a case-by-case basis, but the encouraged time is 12 months.
Q: What does the transitional program look like?
A: Graduates are allowed to remain on the Blue Monarch property beyond graduation as part of the WINGS Transitional Program. This program provides a gradual increase in privileges and freedom while maintaining drug testing, accountability, and careful monitoring by staff. WINGS provides accountability but not supervision.
Q: Do you have a waiting list?
A: We have found that the frequency of inquiries sometimes comes in waves throughout the year. So there are times during the year when placement is relatively swift, other times there is a waiting list that shifts frequently as their circumstances tend to change daily. There is typically a lengthy waiting list but we encourage applicants to apply as soon as possible so their names will be in the system. We consider applications in the order we receive them.
Q: Do you have problems with abusive partners seeking to find the women?
A: We do not publish the location of our facility, but it is not as secretive as a true domestic violence shelter. We carefully screen our applicants and do not accept those who might jeopardize the safety of our community. We ask that someone in a high-risk situation seek help from a true shelter, then her case is reevaluated in 30 days to see if the danger has been resolved. The entire facility has an alarm system and most rooms have panic buttons that call emergency services. If it is determined after a resident arrives that the safety of Blue Monarch is compromised, the resident is required to leave immediately. The local sheriff's department is aware of our program and makes random and frequent visits to our campus.
Q: Do children live with their mothers?
A: Blue Monarch is one of very few recovery programs that allow the children to come with their mothers. Many of the women who come to Blue Monarch express that they would not have sought help if they had to leave their children behind. We recognized early on that it was extremely overwhelming for a woman to parent her children if she had never done so sober. Therefore much of our focus concentrates on coaching each mother with her individual parenting challenges and struggles so she can better manage when she is on her own one day as a single parent.
Q: Do you accept women without children?
A: It is not a requirement, although the majority of the women do have children. Women without children have more options for recovery programs so those with children are sometimes given priority.
Q: What about the women who don’t have custody of their children?
A: Blue Monarch has gained a reputation for assisting mothers in becoming healthier parents so they may regain custody of their children. This process, especially if the children were removed by the Department of Children’s Services or are being cared for by uncooperative family members, can be complicated and overwhelming. Blue Monarch helps the mother navigate this difficult, lengthy process. While there are no guarantees and each case is unique, since we began in 2003 over 265 children have reestablished relationships with their mothers who had lost custody.
Q: Do the children have visitation with their fathers?
A: Sadly, most of the children at Blue Monarch do not have relationships with their fathers. Many of the fathers are incarcerated, disinterested, unfit as parents, or unknown. For the few who do have healthy relationships with their fathers, regular visitation is scheduled and the children are typically transferred off the property.
Q: Do you accept pregnant women?
A: Absolutely. In fact, we delight in the opportunity to assist a new mother as she prepares for the birth of a healthy baby, free from addiction in a safe, nurturing environment.
Q: Do the children go to school?
A: Those of school age attend the local elementary school and are picked up by the school bus. Younger children go to local daycare facilities.
Q: Do the children get to participate in school activities?
A: The children of Blue Monarch are allowed to participate in typical school activities like any other children.
Q: Do you have teenagers living at Blue Monarch?
A: Children 12 and up are not allowed to reside at Blue Monarch, but may visit during the day. Other arrangements are considered on a case by case basis.
Q: What is the average age of women at Blue Monarch?
A: We have had women between the ages of 19 and 52, however, the most common age is early to mid twenties.
Q: Do the women cook for themselves?
A: The women take care of their own meals for breakfast and lunch, but dinner is assigned so that the women take turns cooking for the entire community. Most of the women qualify for Food Stamps. Those who do not qualify for Food Stamps typically use donated food.
Q: Do they have chores?
A: Each woman is designated specific chores, which are assigned weekly and rotate. Outside contractors cut the grass and clean the pool in order to maintain a consistent standard of care.
Q: Can the women have a car?
A: Women are typically not allowed to have their own car until they have graduated from the program and enter the WINGS Transitional Program. At that point their travel activities are randomly monitored.
Q: Are the women allowed passes overnight?
A: Overnight passes are rarely granted until after graduation, unless there are unusual circumstances such as a death in the family, a court appearance far away, a stay in the hospital, a work related commitment, etc.
Q: Can the women have visitors at Blue Monarch?
A: Staff must approve all visits in advance. And all day passes with approved family members or friends must be granted by staff 48 hours in advance.
Q: Can a woman's husband or boyfriend visit?
A: Residents are not allowed to engage in a romantic relationship during the time they are participating in the Blue Monarch program. Once they enter the WINGS Transitional Program, they are allowed to date, but no overnight visitors are allowed on-site.