Pregnant women addicted to drugs will soon have a place to go to help them detox and stay with their baby after they give birth.
The Drug Abuse Foundation of Palm Beach County broke ground on a Women & Children’s Pavilion on its Siemens-Evert Comprehensive Service Campus in Delray Beach last month.
The Pavilion will include 3,000-square feet of new space and create a facility that totals 8,000-square-feet for the Moms & Babies program on the campus. When complete, there will a playground area and 1,000-square-feet of covered patio.
“Our children are our future,” chair of the board of directors at the Drug Abuse Foundation Leo Phillips said.
He shared some statistics about the impact of opioid addiction in the state of Florida before the official groundbreaking of the project occurred.
According to Florida’s surgeon general Dr. Scott Rivkees, 1,500 children were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS in 2018. In the same time period, 4,2000 Floridians died from opioid addiction.
In the past several years, the number of babies born addicted to drugs has grown 200 percent and every 25 minutes a baby is born suffering from withdrawal.
Drug Abuse Foundation began providing services to moms and babies in 2017. The new space will expand on the program currently offered.
COO Stephanie Thompson said there will be 22 beds in the Pavilion and women will be able to come in for help while they are pregnant and stay after giving birth. There will also be an extended stay visitation area for kids to spend time with their moms for eight hours.
“We are very excited,” she said, about the new addition.
DCF Family and Community Service Director Robert Shea said the new Pavilion comes at much needed time as Palm Beach County recently lose several of its specialty program leaving a void in the moms and babies services.
He lauded the Drug Abuse Foundation for fulfilling the need.
“It’s mission critical for DCF to keep families together safely,” he said.
He said substance misuse is the No. 1 reason why kids are removed from their homes in Palm Beach County.
And he said the statistics are staggering when mothers and babies are allowed to stay together than separated.
“We have to work diligently at keeping them together,” he said.
He shared a personal story of a relative of his that entered the program when she was pregnant. He said mom and baby are doing well and mom recently gave birth to twins in November.
The goal of the program is to help reduce the likelihood of a baby being born addicted to non-prescribed substances as well as promoting healthy parent-child relationships.
Drug Abuse Foundation staff, board members and supporters were joined for the groundbreaking by three alumni mothers of the program.