Senator Patrick Leahy (D), Senator Bernie Sanders (I), and Representative Peter Welch (D), announced a $524,000 grant to provide residential treatment for pregnant or postpartum women who are suffering from substance abuse in Vermont.
The grant was awarded to the Lund Family Center in Burlington to extend outreach and support to as many as 645 low-income pregnant or postpartum women over three years.
In a joint statement, Leahy, Sanders and Welch said: "Addiction to heroin and other opioids has been a tremendous challenge affecting communities across our great state. This grant will go toward supporting those who are most vulnerable. The Lund Center has a strong record of success and continues to play a pivotal role in addressing the increasing drug abuse problem."
In April of this year, the congressional delegation wrote a letter to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in support of the Lund Family Center's grant application.
The Lund Center will provide residential substance abuse treatment for pregnant and postpartum women and their families. This program aims to address substance abuse while improving parenting skills, family functioning, economic stability and quality of life, while providing innovative assistance that will allow children to stay with their mothers and improve outcomes for their families.
The Lund Center will now be expanding this assistance to children over five, providing transportation for visitation and onsite assistance, while continuing their successful partnership with the Department of Children and Families to combat substance abuse.
Lund Center Executive Director Barbara Rachelson said: "This grant comes at a time when the headlines of substance abuse and child protection raise the concerns of many Vermonters. This grant provides the resources to further enhance the services we are able to provide to pregnant and parenting women living with substance abuse and to increase their positive treatment outcomes. It also allows for enhanced services to their children to improve their long and short term outcomes. This grant will help so many Vermont families have the treatment, and other services they need to successfully deal with addiction."
Leahy, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, was joined by Welch in March when he held a field hearing in Rutland to address the scourge of opioid and heroin addiction in Vermont.