Literacy Is the Key to Change for Addicted Mothers

Financing model for residential treatment for pregnant addicts

Economic Opportunity Family Health Center, Inc. (EOFHC), of Miami, Fla., hired three consultants to assess its comprehensive residential program for crack-addicted mothers and their children. EOFHC has offered its program, which links primary health care with treatment for drug abuse, since 1987.

The consultants' report to the EOFHC set forth a partial profile of the program's client population from 1987 to 1991 and described elements of its service provision.

Key Findings

  • The client profile included the following data:

    • Of 108 addicted women—predominantly black non-Hispanic—who entered the program, 34 percent were pregnant and 60 percent had children.
      • The women had an 11th grade education, on average.
      • 90 percent had no current health problems.
      • Most had no current involvement with the legal system.
      • 4 percent were employed.
    • From 1987 to 1991, 29 percent of clients completed the program, and 90 percent of all women leaving were sober.
    • No crack-addicted or underweight babies were born into the program.

Key Conclusions

  • The report concluded that the program suffered from:

    • Low client program completion rates.
    • Poor job/career development due to multiple factors, including clients' low literacy rates, criminal records, and mental and physical disabilities.
    • Lack of available adequate housing in south Florida—especially in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew.
    • The inadequacy of minimum-wage jobs to sustain recovering addicts' lives.