Program spotlight: Catholic Charities Born Free/New Beginnings

JACKSON – Whether it’s on the phone, through our social media page, from referral sources, family, friends, or from the woman herself; not a day goes by that Kelli Leo, program director of Born Free Primary Residential and New Beginnings Transititional Residential of Catholic Charities, doesn’t hear about someone in desperate need of treatment. Also, not just any treatment, but treatment specifically designed for pregnant and parenting women with substance use disorders. This unique place exists on the outskirts of Jackson in a beautiful wooded, secluded area where anyone visiting can feel the peace and serenity as soon as they step out of their vehicle. Born Free and New Beginnings, were the first programs designed in the state of Mississippi for pregnant and parenting women identifying with a substance use disorder. Born Free has identified its mission to provide a safe place and service for pregnant women to give birth and for parenting women to reunite and bond with their children as a way to interrupt the cycle of trauma and addiction. Born Free/New Beginnings strives to assist pregnant and parenting women in developing coping skills that will enable them to envelop a healthier lifestyle free of substance use for themselves and their children.

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Addiction places two lives in jeopardy when a woman is pregnant – the mother and her baby. What would it be like for a pregnant woman to have access to a treatment facility made just for her and baby? A place where she is safe and protected and is able to get access to prenatal care? Born Free is that place developed specifically for her designed to help meet her needs and lower birth risks. Since the birth of Born Free in 1994, over 100 babies have been born substance free while their mothers received treatment. Another innovative aspect of Born Free/New Beginnings is that a young child can reside at the facility while his mother undergoes treatment which in turn, strengthens family bonding. Most mothers who complete the treatment program regain custody of their children which has resulted in the unification of families across the state.
Established in 1996, New Beginnings, is a long term transitional treatment program for women who are at least 18 years old, identified as chemically dependent, pregnant and/or parenting females bringing up to two small children under the age of five with them into the program. Many women in recovery are concerned about their ability to gain employment, find a suitable and safe place to live, identify child-care resources and many other obstacles when they are attempting to get back onto their feet. The focus of New Beginnings is to provide transitional treatment services to pregnant and parenting women who have successfully completed a 30 day primary treatment program. The transitional services include: group and individual counseling, recovery support, referral for employment services, educational /vocational referral, housing referrals, parenting education, life skills training, aftercare planning, and family counseling.
For additional information, please contact Kelli Leo, program director at 601-922-0026. To complete an intake, call 601-922-0026 and speak to any person answering the phone.