“Babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) need extra care while they’re in the hospital – and so do their families. To support the parents and relatives of newborns with NAS, Niswonger Children’s Hospital has launched its innovative new Families Thrive program. Families Thrive provides counseling for addiction recovery, tools for parenting skills and connections to other services that can assist families after the baby comes home.”
“All functions and services of Families Thrive are staffed by Families Free, a non-profit local organization that provides treatment, intervention services, employment through social enterprise opportunities and support for women and families affected by substance abuse, incarceration and domestic instability.”
We are so proud to be a part of Families Thrive and working to offer support, resources and – most of all – hope. Engaging with women, listening to their stories and adding value to their experiences as mothers facilitate a transformative process that affects not only the mother and child but everyone in their lives. Read more about the launch of Families Thrive by following the link. #LoveRestores
Tammy Childress of the Bristol Herald Courier met with Families Free Executive Director Lisa Tipton and Niswonger Children’s Hospital CEO Lisa Carter to help announce our collaboration with the hospital to open Families Thrive.
Families Thrive is led by our very own Woven Coordinator Rachel Adams and Lisa Tipton. The program is designed to address the specific problems that NAS (neonatal abstinence syndrome) babies and their families face. It’s a voluntary program that not only helps educate and assist mothers, but it also helps the hospital staff work with mothers to encourage breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact. Families Thrive also offers a parenting day, motivational group day, and art therapy day for the mothers in the unit. Most importantly, the program helps connect families to the programs they may need after leaving the hospital.
Photo Courtesy of Tammy Childress/Bristol Herald Courier
“On average, about 30 percent of the babies in the neonatal intensive care unit at the children’s hospital suffer from NAS,” said Lisa Carter. NAS occurs when a baby is exposed to drugs like opioids in the womb. Babies can be born withdrawing from drugs taken by the mother and many experience tremors, diarrhea, dehydration, sweating, irritability, sensitivity to light and sound, and problems with sleeping – many require specialized care.
“They want to do better. They want to give their babies better. And oftentimes once the families are discharged they fall through the cracks,” Carter said. “So the focus of the program is on the baby’s success — Families Thrive helps the moms to realize that everything they do is for the sake of the baby. So the baby, the mom and family can thrive.”
To learn more about our collaboration with Niswonger Children’s Hospital, read the full Bristol Herald Courier article here. #LoveRestores
As part of their “Addicted at Birth Series,” Tammy Childress of the Bristol Herald Courier dives deeper into the personal stories of those affected by addiction in our region. In the follow up to the first piece, WOVEN Coordinator Rachel Adams and Families Free Executive Director Lisa Tipton discuss how our program provides vital treatment, tools, and support for mothers who have delivered, or are at risk for delivering, a drug-exposed infant. To read the full article, and learn more about the first-hand experiences of women who have taken part in WOVEN’s three-part program, follow the link here. #LoveRestores
Writer Tammy Childress of the Bristol Herald Courier tells the story of Shawna Ramos, whose newborn son was born with NAS – neonatal abstinence syndrome.
Born exposed to the Subutex that his mother took throughout her pregnancy (as part of medical assisted treatment), Shawna’s son Ashton started receiving morphine every three to four hours to help ease the effects of withdrawal. “It’s been a wakeup call. Seeing him like this and knowing what he is going through makes me realize that I need to stop using,” Ramos said, looking at her son sleeping in her lap. “I know now that I need to even stop taking the Subutex because even though it helps me, it’s not worth this — I think seeing the pain he is in will help me to get clean.”
DCS was called when Ashton was diagnosed with NAS, and Ramos said they are handling things differently this time. “This time, the case worker that came to the hospital told me about a program in Johnson City called WOVEN,” she said. “They have support groups and other things that can help me come off drugs and stay clean. I’ve already talked to them twice, so I’m going to go there, and they can help me come off of everything.”
You can find the full article via the Bristol Herald Courier here. To learn more about our WOVEN program, please follow this link.