Jail is not a place most people would ask to remain longer than they have to. Yet it’s exactly what 23 year-old Kim did to get help with an addiction she worried would threaten the health of her unborn baby.
“Someone I dated led to me getting into a lot of trouble,” Kim says. “I’ve struggled with addiction and when I was in jail, I found out I’d taken fentanyl and it freaked me out. I was determined to get clean for my baby. So when I was told I could be released, I asked to stay in so I could get help through their methadone program.”
Kim’s request was granted and once clean, her social worker told her about EFry’s Ellendale Cradle program, which supports expectant and new mothers in maintaining their recovery, learning parenting skills and preparing for stable lives after a stay of up to three months.
“I’m so much better now,” says Kim, now mom to an infant daughter. “I feel safe and the staff is always around to help me. There’s no judgment, just support. It’s great for me and my baby.”
Child development monitoring and support is a unique element of the program.
“There is a significant focus on babies’ health and supporting mothers in learning what to expect with their development and helping them establish a strong parent-child bond,” says Justine Patterson, clinical director with the Elizabeth Fry Society (EFry).
Justine oversees both Ellendale Cradle and EFry’s other residential program for pregnant women and those with infants called Transitions to New Beginnings.
“Substance use and trauma are interconnected, so all our work is trauma-informed,” says Justine. “With the right support, people can build stable lives. Society needs to remove the stigma and encourage women to come forward and get help."
While Ellendale Cradle provides recovering women with structured support and programming, Transitions to New Beginnings is a step down on the continuum of care, focusing on helping secure housing and regain independent living. Both programs only take clients who are seeking help in providing a stable, healthy home for themselves and their children.