As though pregnancy doesn’t come with enough challenges, expectant mothers living on the streets are met with barriers that can mean the difference between life and death.
Thanks to the province and local partners, the James Bay Community Project will now offer HerWay Home, a child-focused, women-centred, drop-in and outreach program for pregnant women and new moms with substance-use challenges.
“HerWay Home will support the health and social care needs of women in Greater Victoria who are considered high-risk and might otherwise fall through the cracks,” says Stephanie Cadieux, minister of Children and Family Development. “The program will provide access to services that vulnerable, expectant mothers and women with young children need so they can have healthier pregnancies and focus on being good parents.”
The project officially opened on Jan. 7, and has since served 11 women and 3 babies within its first few weeks of operation. Six years of planning and research went into the development by a volunteer committee of 30 experts, community organizations, advocates and educators.
“Currently, a baby a week on Vancouver Island is born that is exposed to drugs or alcohol in the womb,” says David Gerry, co-chair of the HerWay Home Advisory Committee. “The range of services and how they are provided by HerWay are a crucial step in reducing the number.”
The project is being funded by Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island through a pledge of $3.3 million over five years, and will be operated by the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) in partnership with the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
More: 250-388-5550, viha.ca/children/pregnancy/herwayhome. M
— Danielle Pope