Project WIN helps mothers with addictions beat the odds

Bootheel Babies & Families is pleased to feature Brooke Burlison, BSW, QAP, and the program coordinator for Project WIN at FCC Behavioral Health in Kennett, MO. Brooke is an active leader in our fight against infant mortality through her work with young mothers in Dunklin and Pemiscot counties.

Pregnancy is an exciting time, as you prepare to become a mother and strive to create a good life for your baby yourself. It can also be a stressful time, even more so if you or a loved one struggles with substance use and misuse. Not only is substance abuse dangerous for you, it can cause chronic and severe health problems for your baby.

Project WIN – Women and Infants in Need – is here to help. Since 2016 we’ve offered substance use intervention and assistance to pregnant or post-partum women in Dunklin and Pemiscot counties who need help breaking the cycle of addiction. We provide outreach, engagement, screenings, comprehensive assessment, counseling, care coordination and linkage to community resources.

What does that really mean? Well, we can help you or your loved one remain free from using alcohol, tobacco and illegal substances during your pregnancy. We are there for you every step of the way. Our nurse care manager, Kathy Tansil, helps you coordinate your medical care and medications, and makes sure the physician’s plan is followed. Brienne Meeks, our Care Coordinator, helps you with community services you may need, such as transportation, food, safe housing, education or infant care programs like Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program. Ramona Whitlock, our Peer Support Specialist, provides you with individual support, and will connect you with groups that build skills to keep you and your baby healthy during and after pregnancy. We want to ensure all our moms have a strong support network.

At Project WIN, we strive to make sure every mom is equipped to succeed with a healthy lifestyle – and a healthy baby. Our program is entirely voluntary, not mandated by any court; but the women who join Project WIN to change their lives find it very valuable. Since the program received funding through Bootheel Babies & Families, 55 women have joined our program.  We are proud of the results:

  • 100% of the women found housing
  • 100% of the women enrolled in Smoking Cessation
  • 100% of the women enrolled in Medicaid
  • 100 % of our program participants had live, drug-free births
  • 100% remained abstinent from substance use/misuse
  • 72% of babies born to Project WIN participants had normal birth weight
  • 100% of mothers still in school improved their GPA

Our hope is that every mother who participates in Project WIN, and their baby, lives a healthy, addiction-free life.

At Project WIN, we are grateful to Bootheel Babies and Families for their support of our efforts, and their fight to reduce infant mortality in our area. We collaborate with them regularly on safe sleep education and initiatives as well as other resources under the infant mortality reduction effort. We are glad to partner with them by serving on committees and attending Bootheel Babies monthly steering committee meetings to stay informed and connect on up to date data and initiative outcomes.

We hope that Project WIN is able to continue serving women in our communities, and we plan to expand our staff in an effort to grow and reach more women in need.  We have learned as a team there is a great need for programs like Project WIN and the other programs that work under the infant mortality initiative.  By working with community partners, we have a greater opportunity to reduce infant mortality together.

If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out. We want to help.

 

Brooke Burlison

brookeb@fccinc.org

573.888.5925 X1503


Mother-to-Mother changes lives in the Bootheel

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This month, Bootheel Babies & Families is very pleased to feature Melinda Sweeney, Executive Director of the Regional Health Foundation. Melinda has been an active part of Bootheel Babies & Families’ Community Steering Committee for years, and her organization’s Mother-to-Mother program is a current Grantee serving women and babies in Stoddard, Dunklin and Pemiscot counties.

Regional Healthcare Foundation is very proud of its Mother-to-Mother (M2M) program, which offers a hand up…not a hand out… to expecting or parenting young women.

The M2M program began in Dexter in 2002 when a group of very special women worked out of the trunks of their cars to provide mentoring and support to young first-time moms. The primary goal of the program is the prevention of child abuse and neglect.

Today, M2M serves close to 50 young Stoddard County women and their families. M2M moms meet with their mentors, attend social and educational activities, earn “baby bucks” to spend in the Baby Boutique, partake of the food pantry and receive educational and career counseling.  Recently the program has been able to extend its educational and career counseling services to significant others as well.

A young woman is eligible to enroll in the M2M program if she lives in Stoddard County, is expecting a child or already has a child under the age of one, is 24 years old or younger, has or is in the process of earning her high school diploma or HSE certificate and has no legal issues.

M2M’s Multi-Phase Approach

M2M is a multi-phase program with different expectations of the participants in each stage.

 

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As a Missouri Foundation for Health Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative grantee, M2M has been able to offer our Best For Baby educational program to moms through the health departments in Stoddard, Pemiscot, and Dunklin Counties. Our nurse educator offers three sessions: Prenatal Care, Keeping Baby Safe and Healthy and Coping After Baby’s Birth. Because Safe Sleep is a primary focus of the Best for Baby program, participants who complete the Safe Sleep lesson are given a safe sleep kit, and those in Stoddard and Dunklin Counties are given to opportunity to receive pack n plays. They must agree to allow a nurse educator to come to their homes and help set up the pack n plays and evaluate the safety of their babies’ sleep environments.

Mother-to-Mother continues to grow and change as our young moms and their families face new challenges.  Substance abuse in general, and the opioid crisis in particular, have and will continue to negatively impact our community. The Mother-to-Mother staff is looking at providing substance abuse prevention activities as part of our educational activities.

During the past four years, I have seen many M2M “success stories” write themselves. The biggest successes are evidenced by young women who…through their hard work and determination, and a little help from M2M, have nurtured healthy, happy, safe children. Many of these young women have graduated high school and college. They are teachers, nurses, insurance agents, physical therapy assistants, and the list goes on.

Many of these success stories are still “in progress.”  The M2M staff, Teresa, Chris, Rachelle, Nancy, Linda, Sherry and Kellie, are helping to write those stories. I am very proud of them and all the M2M moms and their families.

Want to get involved? Find out how you too can make a difference in the lives of Bootheel babies: Contact Us 

About Melinda:

Melinda Sweeney is the Executive Director of the Regional Healthcare Foundation (RHF) in Dexter, Missouri.  She was originally hired in 2014 as a member of the Mother-to-Mother staff.  Mother-to-Mother is one of two flagship programs at RHF. Melinda is a member of the Bootheel Babies and Families steering committee, and the Mother-to-Mother Program is a past and current IMRI grantee and BBF partner.