St. Mary’s fills a critical gap in the needs of homeless women who are in a crisis pregnancy by offering a dignified place for her to be pregnant, raise her infant, and create a path to a productive, independent life. If mothers already have children in addition to the infant, they may bring those children as well to live at our home.
St. Mary’s first priority is to provide for the mother’s immediate and basic needs. Each mother will be given a private room. Case managers will work with each mother to understand her particular background and challenges. From this assessment, they will create an individualized plan to address personal health, educational and psychosocial needs. The case manager, nurse, counselor, and other staff will collaboratively support the women and children in this residential program.
This support team works with the mother to achieve her specific parenting, educational, employment, and housing goals. Registered nurses offer peri-natal support and education. Professional counselors focus on mental wellness, assisting residents in addressing trauma, substance abuse, and other psychosocial needs. Social workers work closely with community resources to coordinate additional outside services needed by our families.
Residents share in household activities, learn life skills, and establish goals through an individualized plan. The foundation of self-awareness and self-esteem is crucial for the mother to gain the confidence she needs to address the challenges of parenting and consequently, to move towards an independent and productive life.
Workshops and trainings cover topics such as parenting, nutrition, employment readiness, educational preparedness, stress management, pre-natal and post-natal care, budgeting, child development, and building healthy relationships.
Treatment Approaches at St. Mary’s Home for Mothers
Professional counselors at St. Mary’s Home for Mothers will use two treatment approaches that are evidence based or empirically validated for their effectiveness. Both approaches are also trauma-informed and considered best practices in this field.
Seeking Safety is an approach that teaches coping skills to help people attain a sense of safety when dealing with the repercussions of trauma and/or addiction in their lives. It is present-focused and designed to be safe, optimistic, and engaging.
Translated into 12 languages, Seeking Safety has been implemented for over 20 years in diverse types of programs, including community-based mental health, addiction, criminal justice, veteran/military, adolescent, school, and medical settings.
The second practice is Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI). TBRI is a therapeutic model that trains caregivers to provide effective support and treatment for at-risk children. TBRI has been applied in orphanages, courts, residential treatment facilities, group homes, foster and adoptive homes, churches, and schools. It has been used effectively with children and youth of all ages and all risk levels.
Our program will incorporate an on-site farming component into this healing modality. This component is essential to the growth and development of the mothers as whole persons. Gardening as a group gives everyone some “skin in the game”, sets high expectations and stimulates personal growth and development. St. Mary’s Home for Mothers will use this intervention to develop parenting skills specifically for children at risk. The TBRI approach is rooted in sensory processing, which is why its adaptation to the farming component is so effective. Working in therapy while immersing ourselves in dirt, planting and harvesting, and breathing the fresh air all helps to engage in one’s senses, creating an atmosphere that bodes well for better treatment outcomes.
Practically, we will use the fruits, vegetables and flowers to nourish our community at St. Mary’s, as well as make our produce available to our community members, if needed.
We measure depression and anxiety at St. Mary’s over time with the PHQ-9 and GAD-7 scales that look at clinical improvement. Again, these are evidence-based instruments that are industry recognized as demonstrating the effectiveness of treatment interventions.