Connections partners with the Delaware Department of Correction to operate New Expectations, which opened in November 2014.
The group home in Newark has 17 beds for pregnant women who are facing incarceration or house arrest for nonviolent offenses.
Substance use led the residents to justice involvement in most cases– and it threatens their health as well as the health of their unborn children.
Women can stay at New Expectations for the entirety of their pregnancies and for six months after their babies are born.
The house is supervised around the clock. The women receive prenatal care and attend intensive outpatient addiction counseling at Connections’ integrated health clinic in Newark for four hours each weekday. They also attend parenting and life-skills classes, as well as job-search training.
The women who succeed in the program transition to permanent housing.
The program prevents the mother and the baby from being separated immediately after the child’s birth. Such a separation is bad for the women’s chance of recovery, and is harmful to the development of the child as well.
Mom is Clean, Baby is Thriving
Emily, a Newark resident, was 23, pregnant and facing DUI and drug possession charges when she entered the New Expectations program in 2015.
She was also hopeless.
“The New Expectations house is in Newark, really close to home, so I just wanted to leave and go back to doing the same things I had always done,” she said.
But she stayed. As of October 2016 she had 20 months clean, the longest she’s ever had in several years.
She goes to 12-step support meetings and sees a counselor at the Connections Community Support Programs, Inc. clinic on Old Polly Drummond Hill Road. She got a job at a local retailer. Her DUI classes are almost complete. Soon, she said, she’ll be off probation.
Her daughter, who turned 1 on Oct. 19, is healthy.
There was no one magic moment when Emily knew she would stay clean. “It was gradual,” she said. “For a while I just assumed I would go home and go back to getting high. Then I realized that if I did that my life would only get worse and that I had too much to lose to let that happen.”
Now 24, Emily said she is in disbelief that she’s been clean this long, and grateful to the New Expectations staff. “The counselors were great – they really helped me get to this point,” Emily said. “It feels so good that everything is finally falling together perfectly for me.”