All children are precious. Every child deserves the love, attention, discipline and effort that a parent can provide. Every child deserves the very best beginnings to her life.
Some children are short changed. They start out at a deficit. Even with all of the love, attention, discipline and effort that their parents can give them, they will always be at a deficit. Sometimes they don’t know how to connect with other human beings. Sometimes they are constantly scared and lash out unexpectedly at the people around them. Some of these precious children are able to manage very well in the world on most days, but then something will set them off and they will do something dangerous and hurt themselves or someone else.
Often times these children who, through no fault of their own, start with a deficit, end up in prison. They are so unable to control or monitor their own behaviors that they kill another human being and are forever sentenced to deal with that act.
Children who are exposed to drugs or alcohol in-utero are being abused from conception. Their chances are being diminished with every “hit.” They may never have a “normal” life because of the deficit that they begin with.
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Grays Harbor is starting a new approach to preventing children from being born with these effects. We are starting a program that focuses on moms who are using drugs. The goal is to prevent that mom from giving birth to any more drug addicted children. We, as a society, have battled this issue for a very long time. We know that moms can’t use drugs and we have tried to force them to stop. We ostracize and demonize these moms because of our outrage at the damage that they have inflicted on their children. We have removed their children from them and we have given them financial sanctions in order to force them to fall into step as a good parent. We have very good chemical dependency centers that teach them what they need to know to stay clean. It’s not always working.
We are trying something new. We will be providing an advocacy program that focuses specifically on these moms. We will provide them support and mentorship in an attempt to improve their situation while decreasing their likelihood to become pregnant while using. Moms enrolled in our program will be supported and cared for while they learn the importance of family planning. They will continue to receive support when they relapse and choose to use drugs. They will be supported in the event that children that they have given birth to in the psst are permanently removed from their care. We will be supporting and caring for them with the goal of preventing any more children from being born with this deficit. Parent Child Assistance Program from the University of Washington will be leading us as we learn a new approach to supporting moms and preventing drug addicted babies!
We are very excited to work with the university in learning and implementing this new approach. We know from experience that the way we work with drug addicted moms hasn’t been successful. We have seen moms give birth to drug addicted babies up to eight times per mom. They just keep trying to fill the emptiness in their lives with the love of a child, but they end up giving birth to a child with a deficit. That child is passed on to the foster care system where they may or may not be adopted into a “forever home” and their new parents will try to manage their deficits with them. We are trying something new and our agency is filled with hope and excitement. If you would like to participate in this exciting time by volunteering, give us a call and join our team 249-0005.
“It takes a village to raise a child” and the CAC is forming a new type of village. Join us!
Angela Coulter is the director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Grays Harbor.