New Hampshire, Jillian Broom Steen, Jillian Broom discussed on NPR's Story of the Day
In New Hampshire record. Number of women who are struggling with opioid addiction are being forced to give up their newborn children as Rachel Gotbaum reports. The state has few services to offer these mothers before they risk losing their children permanently for several years. Jillian broom. Steen was addicted to Percocet and heroin. But once she learned she was pregnant at age twenty six. She knew she wanted to get off drugs. I started off by going to detox. When I found out I was pregnant because I wanted a clean slate in New Hampshire. The weightless for a detox bed is long. So broom Steen drove down to Massachussetts. It was there. She was put on methadone and told it was the best way to treat her disease and to keep her baby safe after detox. She returned home to rural New Hampshire, but getting to the closest methadone clinic each day was a challenge. And sometimes she bought opiates off the street. She knew withdrawing from drugs could endanger her pregnancy. I was more worried about the unborn baby. Unable to get transportation. So now I'm detoxing pregnant, which is dangerous. Broom seen son, Jeremy was born healthy except that he tested positive for methadone. In New Hampshire. Hospitals are required by law to inform the state division for children. Youth and families also known as DC YIF and brooms teen would need to find a safe place to live or she could lose her son. I was told that you have to have twenty four hours supervision from a family member that would build about for you. So like a grandmother, a stay at home, mom, anybody like that. But in order to keep my child, I had to have twenty four hours supervision. Broom Stein grew up in foster care and had no family of her own. She tried to get a bed in one of the few residential drug treatment programs for new mothers, but they were all full. So she and her newborn moved in with a friend and her kids. They were there for just two weeks when two women and a police officer came to the door. They were from DC YIF. They said that if I couldn't. Find a family member that they would have to take him in place him in foster care. Even though Jillian broom Steen had not used heroin for months and wasn't counseling and parenting classes. Jeremy was taken from her that day. I was doing all the work that they wanted me to do, but I had to until I got into a place, they weren't going to give him back to me, it was hard play. Kitchens feels like you rip your chest out. The number of children placed in foster care in New Hampshire has more than doubled in recent years. Much of that as a result of the opioid epidemic, which has overwhelmed the state's limited resources. Joseph Ripston runs DC YIF what you'd see in a lot of other jurisdictions. If you have a case load of something around twelve families right now, New Hampshire people have an average caseload of somewhere in the forties, right? That's a huge difference. But that's not the only difference says Ripston because of major budget cuts to child welfare case workers in New Hampshire can only offer help to struggling families. Once they have opened. Case of abuse and neglect. There's little money to support parents before that happens. The result of that is exactly what you see in the data that more children coming into the foster care system that otherwise might not. If we had the capacity to serve families more holistically upfront. In the kitchen of an old house in Rochester, New Hampshire moms are gathered with their babies, mama. This is hope on haven hill where eight pregnant women and new moms can live with their children while they receive treatment for their drug addiction. Some of the women who live here are battling to get their kids back from the state. They have twelve months to do what the court asks of them, which includes staying sober and treatment, and finding safe insecure housing, or they can lose their parental rights. I cannot stress enough that twelve months is a really short window for somebody who's in early recovery. Courtney Tanner runs this program. If a mother can't find resources or from other experiences relapsed during that twelve month window that child can be removed from her and put up for adoption. Her rights could be terminated. Jillian, broom Stein, almost lost her son, Jeremy to state custody, but she was determined to get him back after he was placed into foster care. She continued her methadone treatment and finally got a bed in another residential treatment program. For young moms. She was reunited with him after a few months, but she knows a lot of women who gave up hope and went back to using drugs. They said in court that it was it off case that gave me by child back so quickly. It made me want to cry, not a lot of people make it at, get their children back that year. Broom Stein is now living in Nashua far from the rural town where she first started using heroin and where there are many more services to help her rebuild her life. While Jeremy's in daycare. She is studying business administration and hopes one day to open her own bakery in the neighborhood for NPR news. I'm Rachel Gotbaum, and our story was produced in collaboration with our partners Kaiser health news.