Downtown residential addiction treatment facility helping moms keep kids

A soon-to-be mom battling a heroin addiction is also fighting to keep her baby after she's born.

55 percent of removals in 2017 were related to parental substance abuse, according to an evaluation of the Indiana Department of Child Services released last week.

Volunteers of America of Indiana, a free residential addiction treatment facility downtown, is helping moms recover and avoid being a part of that statistic. The program is funded by DCS.

Emily Wynder has been staying at Volunteers of America for roughly 30 days. She's expecting her fourth child next week, but she's been battling an addiction to heroin for the last two years. She said she's been clean since the end of May.

"I have been an addict for about 20 years off and on," said Wynder.

She said she first started using marijuana, then moved to prescription drugs and began using heroin two years ago. Her addiction became more dangerous when she found out she was five months pregnant.

"To think my baby is going to be taken as soon as I have them is something that’s really hard for me to talk about," she said.

Volunteers of America Indiana added 45 more beds in the last few months because the demand was so high. All 60 of their beds are filled. The facility lets mothers have two of their children, age 5 and under, live with them during treatment.

"If [the babies] test positive for drugs at the hospital, they don’t go home with mom," said Shannon Schumacher, executive VP of clinical and strategic services for Volunteers of America of Indiana.

Schumacher said there are only a few occasions when the mom did not leave with her child after graduating from the program. They also offer outpatient treatment so moms can come in for groups for as long as they need to.

"They can bring babies back with them to the rehab program so they have time to bound and continue to work on their recovery," she said.

Volunteers of America is helping moms like Wynder keep their newborn and stay clean. She plans to come back to the facility with her baby girl to continue treatment.

"If they just removed my kid and I knew I was never going to see her again, I would feel like I had no reason to stay clean," she said.

BY , FOX59

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