VICTORIA, BC - “I like meeting the other girls. It’s easier to get along with them because we understand each other’s experiences. There is moral support.” HerWay Home client.
One baby a week is born on Vancouver Island exposed to drugs or alcohol in the womb. HerWay Home is a child-focused, women-centred, family-oriented drop-in and outreach program for pregnant women, new moms with substance use challenges and their children. This year marks the five-year anniversary of the program operated by Island Health. Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island has contributed more than $2.5 million in donor funds to the program since its beginnings.
“The work being done by HerWay Home is so vital – by removing barriers to treatment and reducing the harmful effects of stigma, we can interrupt the cycle of trauma that contributes to addictions so women and families can start on their healing journey,” said Judy Darcy, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions. “We know that connection is part of the answer, and we are working across government and with all community partners to eliminate stigma and take bold, innovative action to build a better system for mental health and addictions care in B.C.”
“We are grateful to our dedicated donors who make funding programs like HerWay Home possible. Thanks to their generous support, and through the success of HerWay Home, moms and their kids have new-found hope and a better chance at a healthier life,” said Veronica Carroll, CEO of Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island.
HerWay Home clients have access to a broad range of health and social services – under one roof – with a focus on safe housing, healthy pregnancy, nutrition and addressing issues related to substance use, mental health, trauma and/or violence. By connecting women with peers and other community resources the program aims to create a clear and supportive pathway to a healthy pregnancy and parenting journey.
“The success of the HerWay Home program demonstrates we are better together, working with community partners to improve access to services for women and families,” said Leah Hollins, Island Health Board Chair. “By sharing our resources and expertise, we’re able to offer an array of supports to encourage healthier, richer lives for these women and their children.”
“Our goal is to support women to have healthy births, decrease problematic substance use and encourage positive connections between mothers and babies,” said Amanda Seymour, Coordinator, HerWay Home. “The respectful, women-centered services offered by HerWay can help reduce the number of babies born prenatally exposed to substances.”
Conveniently located in the James Bay Community Project, the program has been working with women and children since January 7, 2013. HerWay Home has served more than 220 women and their families.