In Texas, a rare program offers hope for some of the most vulnerable women and babies

Casa Mía, a program in Texas, supports pregnant women and new mothers struggling with addiction, offering a ray of hope amidst restrictive reproductive policies and rising substance abuse issues.

About the program: Casa Mía, based in San Antonio, provides housing, addiction treatment, mental health care, and support for pregnant women and new mothers dealing with substance abuse.
* The program, established by nurse Lisa Cleveland through the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, operates from a converted house accommodating nine women and their babies, offering a nurturing environment and specialized care.

Reproductive health climate: The program operates amidst strict abortion laws and restrictive maternal health policies in Texas.
* Abortion is illegal in Texas, forcing many women, especially those experiencing domestic violence or substance abuse issues, to continue with their pregnancies or undertake precarious travel to access abortion services out of state.
* The state recently expanded its Medicaid benefit for low-income postpartum mothers to a year, but advocates say more supportive steps are needed.

The participant’s perspective: Participants in Casa Mía program have shared their transformative experiences.
* Mothers who have availed the program’s help attest that their life trajectories would have been starkly negative without this support, with the likelihood of losing their children to foster care and ending up homeless.

Population affected: Substantial demand for programs like Casa Mía reflects a nationwide health crisis relating to substance abuse and pregnancy.
* Babies exposed to opioid use in utero can be diagnosed with neonatal abstinence syndrome, and it is estimated that a baby is diagnosed every 25 minutes in the U.S.
* The US spends nearly half a billion dollars annually on the treatment of these babies, yet adequate care remains elusive for many.

View original article on NPR

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