Janus of Santa Cruz awarded $1.1 million grant to expand treatment services to minority women

Rod Libbey, Janus executive director

Santa Cruz Sentinel

SANTA CRUZ — More women with substance abuse problems will have access to treatment, education and family support thanks to a $1.1 million, three-year federal grant awarded to Janus of Santa Cruz to expand services to minority women.

“This is a big deal,” said Rod Libbey, executive director of Janus, which runs the only residential substance abuse treatment program for pregnant and new mothers. “This creates a lot of opportunity.”

Janus Perinatal, formerly Mondanaro-Baskin Center, has the capacity to house 10 women and 14 children but only six of the 10 adult beds have been funded through county and state funds.

The new federal grant which provides $368,764 annually for three years was awarded by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to fund the other four beds as well as support increased outreach work, parenting education and family counseling.

“We have always wanted the capability to work with families,” Libbey said, noting that without support in the community and family, many substance abusers fail to thrive. “It’s terribly difficult for them to move forward in a positive way. To get counseling for them and reintegrate them in with their families is really important.”

The newly funded Perinatal Care Para Madres project has several components including the hiring of “promotoras,” or outreach workers including three part-time outreach workers who are graduates of the Janus program. They will work with a full-time outreach worker to help women with housing, substance abuse education and parenting skills. There will also be a “Celebrating Families” component, funds for a new child family counselor and expanded general counseling hours. A new curriculum, “Seeking Safety,” will include trauma-recovery counseling.

The Walnut Avenue Women’s Center, which has partnered with Janus since 2003 to provide services, will run the Seeking Safety counseling groups, as well as domestic violence groups and a Mom’s and Kid’s Club.

In a letter of support for the grant, Barbara Rice, director of the Maternal Child Adolescent Health program of the Health Services Agency of Santa Cruz County, said “these additional treatment services for our community are greatly needed.”

Sonya Drottar, a social worker with the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery at Dominican Hospital also voiced support for the grant. “Janus has been the reason that many women I know have been able to overcome addiction and parent their children,” she said in a letter of support.

The focus on the Latino population is much needed, Libbey said. “This brings this program to real fruition for the first time. We’re really excited.”

This is the second grant awarded to Janus this year. The other was a Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County grant to support an ongoing pilot project featuring an online Avatar Virtual Reality program for methadone users.

This article appears online here.

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