Grant goes to helping babies before they are born |

Grant goes to helping babies before they are born

Babies born to mothers who abuse drugs or alcohol during pregnancy may pay a higher price for their mother’s abuse. Children exposed to drugs and alcohol before birth are at greater risk for delayed development, small birth weight, mental retardation and serious health problems throughout their lives. Capri of the Sierra, a local nonprofit in El Dorado and Alpine counties, has received $50,000 from the California Endowment to begin a strategic response to the crisis in the Sierra.

“This award is the catalyst CAPRI needed to bring this vital program to our counties. We are grateful to the California Endowment for their efforts to improve the health of babies in our communities,” said Cindy Hannah, CAPRI president.

The funding will provide two assessors who will begin a screening process that will identify women at risk of substance abuse during pregnancy. Dr. Ira Chasnoff, president of the Children’s Research Triangle and a professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, has authored several books on the subject of substance abuse during pregnancy and has received several awards for his work with high-risk women, children and families. He has developed a screening tool that will be used by the CAPRI program. Women identified to be at risk will be given a comprehensive risk assessment in the prenatal care provider’s office or other safe environment.

This face-to-face meeting between the assessor and pregnant women will help determine if there is actual substance abuse, and will also include assessment of other possible areas of concern including physical health, nutrition, mental health, domestic violence, child care, transportation and housing needs. The assessors will then be able to offer referrals to available resources for each patient.

Capri of the Sierra is a collaboration between El Dorado and Alpine counties to improve the health and well being of children and mothers who are at risk due to prenatal drug exposure.

For more information contact Hannah at cindy@

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