First Step Home’s Terry Schoenling Home for Mothers and Infants has made great progress in supporting their community of women.  The  Impact  100  grant  has  allowed  them  to  adjust   the  initial assessment process  to  make  sure  the  women  entering  the  program  have  a  good  chance  for success  in  keeping  their  babies  at  the  time  of  birth,  allowed  them  to  enhance  security  by  adding cameras that monitor the entrances and exits of the building, and strengthen internal capacity of staff for the program. In addition to program participation, expected indicators included:

  • Increased number of mothers that remain the primary caregivers to their newborns with appropriate safety plans, if necessary. This would hold true even if they require prolonged hospitalization for treatment of NAS.
  • Reduced maternal stress (e.g., reported feelings of being overwhelmed)
  • Increase the percentage of new mothers who remain abstinent, including the successful achievement of 90 days of abstinence.

In addition to these articulated goals:

  • 75% of clients have maintained at least 30 days of sobriety in the Program as Schoenling Home now encompasses an 8-week stay, including a month prior to birth of babies.
  • According to their partner, Child Protective Services, FSH is now able to create safety plans for our women clients, allowing them to come home with their babies to First Step Home rather than being pulled into foster care. This is a new privilege for First Step Home clients. CPS has allowed twenty women to stay with us, as this is a new, positive development.

Lastly, “meet” Sadie and Betsy and learn about their stories:

Sadie was admitted right after she gave birth to her daughter, and then went into the Terry Schoenling Home for Mothers and Infants. She remained there for approximately 4 weeks. While there she continued to meet with her clinical counselor, attend groups, which included maternal groups. She also saw the pediatric nurse and was able to speak to her about any issues she may be having, in regard to being a new mother. Sadie has been described by her counselor as impulsive at times but had worked on those issues. After leaving Terry’s house she moved into Campus Housing, continued to meet with her counselor, appears less impulsive, and has found daycare for her daughter, a part time job, and now will be interviewed for the permanent supportive housing known as 2160. She has remained sober the entire time. She has worked on reunification with her mom, whom she had not seen in 7 months. She recently told a house manager great thing happen when you do the right thing.

Betsy: She was admitted to FSH two months before she gave birth. Moved into Terry’s house where she stayed and met with the pediatric nurse regularly. In fact she and her baby did so well, that while she was at Terry’s House she was able to bring her other two daughters whom were living elsewhere with her. All three of her children remained in Terry’s house until she moved into Campus Housing. While she was there the maternal department gave her tools to help deal with her toddler daughter who was exhibiting some behavioral issues.  Elizabeth appeared to be overwhelmed with having a new baby along with two other children, but she gradually listened and used the tools that she had learned from the Manager of Maternal Services, along with and the Coordinator.  She appears to be much calmer, patient, and has also remained sober since she has been here.