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Help for MN Moms Struggling with Drug Addiction

Minnesota has a new round of grants to help mothers struggling with drug addiction. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Minnesota has a new round of grants to help mothers struggling with drug addiction. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
December 28, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS – New grant money is being used by a dozen organizations in Minnesota to help pregnant and parenting women face and conquer their substance-abuse problems. Just over $4 million has been distributed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, and the same amount has been approved for the next two years as well.

Clair Wilson, the assistant commissioner of the DHS, said the Women's Recovery Services grants allow groups to provide comprehensive, family-centered services that are specific to high-risk women. Since the program began in 2011, she said it's helped a lot of families in Minnesota.

"We've seen women being less likely to use substances, more likely to stay in recovery, more connected to community support, more likely not to experience homelessness, more likely to be employed," she explained.

In order for a woman to be eligible to receive help, she has to either be pregnant or parenting dependent children under age 19. She must also either be enrolled in a substance-abuse treatment program or have completed treatment within the past six months, or have agreed to go to rehab.

The grant amounts range from $100,000 to $800,000 a year, and Wilson said the money is divvied up between groups across the state, including Project Clean Start, the Perspectives Support Housing Programs, Hope House of Itasca County and American Indian Family Services. She added that the money is used in a variety of ways.

"Helping a woman find employment and housing, or helping a woman who's just given birth get diapers and have early-parenting classes," she said. "And then frequently, it also enables them to have recovery coaches, who can work alongside them in early recovery."

Wilson said DHS did a Return-on-Investment analysis of these grants and found a positive return to taxpayers of $4.17 for every dollar spent on the grant program.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MN