created at: 2013-09-25Caring for a newborn can be challenging, with sleepless nights and a steep learning curve for parents. But what if your child was exposed to painkillers or heroin in the womb? Or if you were struggling with your own road to recovery? JF&CS has launched an innovative program to help mothers who are facing these issues become the best parents they can be.

Project NESST (Newborns Exposed to Substances: Support and Therapy) offers support for substance-exposed newborns and their families. The population of substance-exposed newborns has grown dramatically in recent years, in part due to the rising incidence of prescription painkiller use and abuse. While some programs focus on the medical needs of infants who were exposed to opiates, cocaine, prescription medications, or other substances, this pioneering program is one of the first to address the emotional and psychological challenges of being the parent of a substance-exposed newborn.

“Project NESST grew out of more than twenty years of expertise in perinatal work, home visiting, and parent-child mental health,” said Eda Spielman, PsyD, Clinical Director of the JF&CS Center for Early Relationship Support (CERS). “It brings together those areas of experience with our growing knowledge of parenting in the context of substance-use recovery to address the needs of substance-exposed newborns and their families.”

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