Gift to Help Women, Babies with Substance use Disorders
CONCORD (AP) — An organization that houses and treats homeless pregnant woman and a hospital hoping to spread its care model throughout the state are among the beneficiaries of a $3 million anonymous gift aimed at helping mothers and babies affected by addiction.
The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation on Tuesday said it plans to distribute about $1 million a year from the donation in the next three years, and has already made one round of grants totally $629,000. The goal is to ensure pregnant women, new moms and babies get the support they need, elevate innovative practices that could be replicated elsewhere and educate women about the importance of being substance-free during pregnancy, said Tym Rourke, the foundation's director for substance use disorders grants.
According to the Division for Children, Youth and Families, nearly 470 New Hampshire babies were born exposed to drugs last year — about one every 19 hours — compared with 367 in 2014. Many babies suffer the effects of withdrawal from opioids, experiencing lower birth weight and other complications resulting in longer hospital stays. Many also face lifelong effects from exposure to alcohol and other drugs, and their mothers often don't seek care out of fear, Rourke said.
"Help is available. It's not as easily available as we would like, but this project hopefully will be part of solution," he said. "It is our hope that for moms struggling with their own substance misuse, that they don't hide in the shadows."
Grant recipients include Hope on Haven Hill, which will have provided housing and treatment for 85 women and their babies by the time it reaches its anniversary in December.
"Every day I get to witness the resilient women in our program. They work hard to succeed in treatment and embrace recovery while simultaneously learning to care for their babies and become the best moms they can be," said the organization's executive director, Courtney Tanner. "It's intense, but they're succeeding, and we're behind them while they do it."
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, which created an integrated program for expectant and new mothers to treat addiction and prepare them for parenthood, will use some of its funding to create a consulting service for providers statewide.
"The best work we can do is to support our partners and colleagues around the state in caring for women most effectively in their home communities," said Dr. Daisy Goodman.