LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto, Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers joined Volunteers of America Mid-States President and CEO Jennifer Hancock on Tuesday, August 18th, to announce a substantial federal grant that will allow VOA to dramatically expand services in Southeastern Kentucky.
The leaders shared details of the grant to VOA, one of only three providers in the nation to receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for treatment and recovery services directed toward pregnant and parenting women in Southeastern Kentucky. The grant is for $2.6 million during a five-year period and will be used to expand the work of Freedom House, VOA’s nationally recognized program for women working to overcome substance use disorder.
VOA received this grant with the support of leaders including U.S Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers. VOA will use the funds in partnership with the University of Kentucky Human Development Institute to help serve an estimated 1,250 individuals and families as they work to expand their reach in Southeastern Kentucky. At the press conference, the leaders shared details of VOA’s work, partnership with UK and the proposed impact on the region.
“Volunteers of America Mid-States is honored and humbled to be one of three recipients nationally of this much-needed grant funding,” said Jennifer Hancock, CEO of Volunteers of America Mid-States. “VOA looks forward to expanding our work and commitment to Southeastern Kentucky.”
Volunteers of America is one of Kentucky’s leading providers of recovery services for individuals and families working to overcome substance use disorder, and VOA’s Freedom House program is a nationally recognized model for treatment and care of pregnant and parenting women. Freedom House helps moms begin a new path to become healthy and sober and deliver healthy babies, while keeping families united and saving taxpayer dollars by avoiding expensive care for babies born with neo-natal abstinence syndrome.
This spring, VOA opened Freedom House Southeastern Kentucky, and is now providing long-overdue care to a beautiful but underserved part of our Commonwealth. Freedom House in Clay County employs eleven staff members and has a capacity to serve 16 pregnant or parenting moms. The first healthy baby, Heavenly Grace, was born in April and the first program graduate, Brittany, is now employed by the City of Manchester. Today, nine women are receiving care and support. Last month, VOA was one of three providers in the nation to receive a SAMSHA grant to expand services for pregnant and parenting women in Southeastern Kentucky.
“Recovery can’t wait in this beautiful region of our state. Thanks to the combined leadership of so many in the community, we are serving women today and look forward to doing even more going forward. Our vision for Southeastern Kentucky is to continue to grow our support and our services for individuals and families who are so ready to begin new, hope-filled lives,” Hancock said.
Freedom House is an investment in families that saves taxpayer dollars by avoiding expensive treatment in intensive care units for babies born with neo-natal abstinence syndrome. A vital outcome is keeping more women out of the criminal justice system and transitioning women from the corrections system back into our community. VOA works with the Department of Corrections to transition pregnant women and to lower the recidivism rate of women who come to Freedom House.
VOA is exploring a range of comprehensive services in the area, including transitional housing for people exiting recovery.
“We are so grateful to so many leaders, including Leader McConnell, Congressman Rogers and Senate President Stivers, for their strong support. We look forward to being a long-term partner and member of this great community,” Hancock said.