Program helps future moms kick their habit

Knoxville (WVLT) -- Hundreds of mothers throughout East Tennessee can now get help with their drug addiction without leaving their children behind.

The program targets methamphetamine addiction and reaches out to 300 mothers and 350 children in 16 counties across East Tennessee

What makes this program so special is the fact that these mothers don't have to give up their children to get clean.

"I couldn't quit, so I continued to use for the first two months of my pregnancy," said Ashley Miller, 27 who had been addicted to meth since her teenage years and even married a drug dealer

But the new mom enrolled at the end of September, said one day out of nowhere, it just dawned on her that she needed help.

"I just knew that I wanted better and I wanted to have my baby,” Miller said. “I didn't want to have to give her up and I didn't want to have to go to prison."

At eight months pregnant, Miller enrolled in the "New Beginnings For Women and Children" program through Child & Family Tennessee.

"I was going to learn to live a clean and sober life and the main thing is getting to do that with my child,” Miller said.

The intensive substance abuse program is unique because mothers no longer have to choose between taking care of their children and getting help.

"They'll be able to come with their child,” said Kate O’Day, the president of Child & Family Tennessee. “There will be a safe place for them both to live and daycare that is especially tailored to the needs of these kids."

The nine month treatment program helps women tackle their addiction in all areas of their lives.

Each of the mothers have spent most of their lives wrapped around drugs and in and out of jail, but now their arms are wrapped around something much better.

"I don't feel the need to go out and get high because that just creates a loss soul in you,” said Amanda Jones who has been enrolled since November.

"I was really excited about coming because I knew I was going to be able to keep my baby," said Cathe Mynatt who enrolled in October.

Without their babies by their sides, all of the mothers said they'd still be lost in a world of addiction.

"When you get up every morning and your child smiles at you and you know you've given a life, a healthy life, that makes it all worthwhile," Miller said.

The program also cuts down on the number of children going into foster care and is funded by a $3.7 million federal grant.

If you or someone you know is interested in enrolling in the program, you can give them a call at 865-524-7483

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