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State awards nearly $400,000 grant for addicted mothers, babies

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When babies are born to women who are abusing prescription drugs or using heroin, they have special needs and typically require care in a neonatal intensive care unit. A new statewide effort aims to help. ideastream's Sarah Jane Tribble reports....

Monday, May 19, 2014 at 2:16 pm

State officials announced a nearly $400,000 grant to MetroHealth Medical Center Monday to improve care for afflicted families.

MetroHealth's Dr. Jennifer Bailit explains the challenges of caring for an addicted newborn.

"Babies in withdrawal are jittery, they're hard to console, they have diarrhea and vomiting and poor feeding and failure to gain weight..... treatment can last for weeks or months and is very expensive," Bailit says.

MetroHealth is one of four locations across the state receiving the grant money. The local program provides expectant mothers and their families a network of care that includes medical treatment, counseling, transportation, housing and childcare.

Tracy Plouck, director of Ohio's department of mental health and addiction services. She says the state expects the grant to reduce the costs of medical care after the child is born AND improve the family's lives for the long-term.

They're going to start with a healthier beginning and hopefully the mom will then be in position where she's been linked effectively to treatment and she has stable housing and she's on the road to re-employment or employment for the first time and there's going to be more stability for that young child," Plouck says.

The local grant is expected to fund care for 125 women and their babies.

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