Infants born to substance dependent women are more likely to be low birth weight and, depending on the substance, to experience neonatal withdrawal syndrome

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A. Organization:


  • Policy states agency’s commitment to serving pregnant women and their families and providing priority access to treatment including interim treatment services to be provided while she may be waiting for a bed in a residential program. Trauma informed care, and strength-based, gender specific and evidenced base treatment strategies should be incorporated, along with relevant training for staff.

  • Services for infants comply with and implement Safe Infant Sleep Practices.


  • Agency establishes Qualified Service Organization Agreements with community prenatal care providers, pediatric providers, early intervention and early childhood programs, and providers of parenting and family services.

  • Agency conducts regular outreach to prenatal care settings and other community providers to raise awareness about their services and to promote treatment referrals for pregnant substance using women

  • Agency develops active partnership with Department of Children and Families, and applies BSAS Practice Guidance: Partnerships with DCF

  • Agency develops partnerships with programs that provide recovery supports such as recovery coaching, case management services and recovery support centers.

Supervision, Training and Staff Development:

  • Supervision and training explicitly explore staff perceptions and values regarding women who use alcohol, drugs and tobacco during pregnancy.

  • Staff are knowledgeable and can communicate effectively to mothers about the effects of substance use during pregnancy, including alcohol and nicotine, and about Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and infant and child development and resilience.

  • Staff understand the impact of stigma, shame and isolation on the recovery and treatment process.

  • Staff understand how to support mother-infant bonding and attunement.

  • Staff are skilled in engaging pregnant women using Motivational Interviewing techniques and other evidenced based practices for engagement and retention.

  • Staff are knowledgeable about community resources and services for pregnant and postpartum women including Recovery Support Centers, Family Resource Centers, Early Intervention, Home Visiting, and Child Care.

  • Staff understand the importance of relational support, and are skilled in helping women identify, build, and utilize networks of pro-social support.

  • Staff understand intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation, and safe relationships, and are comfortable working with women who are exiting sex work or exploitation and learning to seek out positive relationships and seek safety when needed.

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