There's a new program helping expectant mothers who struggle with drug addiction in our area.
'Healthy MOMS' launched in September and has already offered its services to 24 women in Lackawanna and Susquehanna counties.
Thanks to a new $500,00 grant from the AllOne Foundation, the program is expanding to cover Wayne, Wyoming, and Luzerne counties as well.
"Being a new mom is hard enough, and I think we know how challenging that can be. So we try to take away as many of the challenges as possible so a mom can focus on herself, her sobriety, and her baby, " said Dr. Maria Montoro-Edwards, with The Wright Center for Community Health.
For the past two years, the number of babies born addicted to drugs in Lackawanna County has been twice the state's average.
"This has become a huge problem in our area," said Dr. William Dempsey, the Assistant Program Director for the Wright Center for Community Health.
More than a dozen local professionals who work in healthcare, social services, and education are lending their services to try to change that statistic through the 'Healthy MOMS' program.
The following organizations are partners of the program: Lackawanna/Susquehanna Office of Drug and Alcohol Programs, The Wright Center for Community Health, Lackawanna County Office of Youth and Family Services, Outreach Center for Community Resources, Maternal and Family Health Services, Inc., Community Care Behavioral Health Organization, Moses Taylor Hospital, Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development, Marywood University, St. Joseph’s Center, Scranton Primary Health Care, United Neighborhood Centers, Geisinger Health System, and Catherine McAuley House.
"This is amazing that all the different programs in the community are coming together to say, 'What can we do to help?" said Dr. Dempsey.
'Healthy MOMS' stands for Maternal Opiate Medical Support.
The program offers services for moms in need before, during, and after their paths to recovery.
"Every time we identify a barrier that a mom is experiencing, we identify a provider in the community that can help us with that barrier," said Barbara Durkin, Director of the Lackawanna and Susquehanna Office of Drug and Alcohol Programs.
"Food, clothing, housing. We talked about maternity clothes for the moms or bedding for the babies. It's sometimes those smaller things, but we get them whatever they need to start off and live a sober life," said Maria Kolcharno, with The Wright Center for Community Health.
"We have been hosting prenatal classes for the last couple of months and we will be hosting probably one a month ongoing for the moms that are in the program," said Angela Seibert, Outreach's Program Director.
If you know someone who may be eligible for the program, call 570-955-7821 or text HEALTHYMOMS TO 555888.
Click here to learn more about Healthy MOMS.