News: University of Louisville Magazine, Winter/Spring 2015

Project aims to help new mothers break cycle, improve lives

University of Louisville Magazine Winter/Spring 2015

A better start for babies and their moms is the goal of a three-year, $1.5 million study that Kent School of Social Work recently began with the Volunteers of America (VOA) of Kentucky. The project will serve 75 women and 60 children living in Freedom House, a Louisville VOA residential treatment facility for pregnant and postpartum women in substance abuse recovery. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funds the effort, which will also extend to 96 family members. The comprehensive, family-oriented treatment protocol was part of the appeal, according to lead researcher Emma Sterrett, a professor who also directs Kent’s marriage and family therapy program. The holistic plan is not just to help the women decrease their substance abuse and break the addiction cycle; the wide array of services should promote mental and physical health, financial and housing stability, employment readiness and improved family relationships, stretching far beyond the women’s Freedom House stay.

Frankesha, shown with son Key’Mauray, successfully completed the Volunteers of America of Kentucky treatment program in 2013.