New Gaudenzia facility, funded with state grant, will fill gap in much needed services by providing treatment for women and their children
WILMINGTON, De. (June 6, 2022) – Gaudenzia, Inc., one of the region’s largest non-profit providers of treatment for substance use disorder, will open Delaware’s only inpatient treatment facility for pregnant and parenting women, a historically under-cared-for and often-stigmatized population.
The facility, located in Claymont, will be funded with a $3.2 million contract from the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) via federal grant funds and will open this summer. Delaware was just one of two states without a dedicated treatment center for women who are pregnant or have children.
Gaudenzia will renovate and repurpose an existing building to offer two levels of care for up to 20 women with substance use disorders with up to 40 children – two per client.
“This is a historical day for Delaware, Gaudenzia and for a population that desperately needs treatment services,” said Dr. Dale Klatzker, chief executive of Gaudenzia. “Research shows that family-centered treatment for pregnant and parenting women is a smart investment with both immediate and long-term economic and social benefits.
“Women and their children will now get the care they deserve through this public/private partnership thanks to Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, Director Joanna Champney at DSAMH and strong support from lawmakers such as Sen. Sarah McBride and Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown, whose passion for caring for this population will make this project possible.”
Delaware has some of the highest rates of substance use disorder and overdoses in the country. This falls especially hard on pregnant and parenting women who are stigmatized and often don’t seek help because of a lack of childcare or fear of losing custody of their children. As a result, Delaware has the nation’s fifth-highest rate of pregnant women with substance use disorder. Consider these facts:
- 20% of pregnant/postpartum women in Delaware’s Medicaid program have SUD and 10.6% of those women were addicted to opioids.
- 70% of women entering treatment for SUD have children.
- 2,511 substance-exposed infant births occurred between 2015-2019.
- The average cost per hospital state for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome was $66,700.
- 1,022 children in Delaware were placed in out-of-home care due to their parents’ drug or alcohol use in 2019.
“Pregnant and parenting women must have access to quality treatment services,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, PhD., RN, FAAN, “As a nurse and chair of the Delaware Behavioral Health Consortium, I have continuously advocated for a local treatment facility to provide specialized care for women and their children. Delaware has been the only state without this specialty facility, and I am proud to report that has now changed. Our state’s exciting partnership with Gaudenzia will greatly impact the Claymont community, and the moms in Delaware who need this level of support. Thank you to the wonderful team at DSAMH and members of our General Assembly who championed the opening of this much needed facility.”
Joanna Champney, Director at DSAMH, said of the partnership, “We decided that we didn’t want pregnant and parenting people to have to seek inpatient treatment out of state anymore. DSAMH set a goal of establishing a continuum of services for this population right here in Delaware. Gaudenzia rose to the challenge, and is prepared to offer inpatient residential substance use disorder treatment, which had been a major missing link.”
Sen. Sarah McBride, D-North Wilmington, said, “I am excited that Claymont will become the next community to be served by a Gaudenzia facility for pregnant women and parents. Countless Delaware families will benefit from this type of comprehensive care.”
Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown, D-New Castle, said, “Too many babies have become innocent victims of the drug epidemic sweeping our state. It’s only right that we start to concentrate on treatment and family-based services for mothers with substance use disorders. Thank you Gaudenzia and everyone committed to maternal and infant healthcare on every level. Collectively, we can get local women back on their feet, so they can make good decisions that promote the health of their own bodies and the health of the body growing inside them.”
Gaudenzia opened its first facility for pregnant and parenting women in 1979 in Lancaster, Pa. It now operates 14 centers for women with children.
The Claymont facility will have one floor set aside for 10 women needing high-intensity, clinically managed residential treatment and one floor for another 10 women needing lower-intensity services. Each will include on-site medical and psychiatric services, case management, on-site childcare, meals, room and board. They will also have 24-hour supervision and access to medical, clinical, childcare and support staff.
“As a leader in treatment for pregnant and parenting women, we know firsthand how the epidemic of substance use disorders creates untold costs to children’s welfare, public education, mental health and the criminal justice systems,” Klatzker said. “We know that keeping families together is one of the most effective ways of breaking the cycle of addiction.”