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Shelters Help Expectant Mothers Break Addiction

The number of newborns taken into protective custody has decreased, thanks in part to women's shelters specializing in services for pregnant women with alcohol or drug problems.

The Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters says they've taken in around 1,000 expectant addict mothers over the past decade -- an average of 170 a year. These mothers were considered to be at high risk of having their babies taken from them by child protective services.

Results from the Federation's follow-up research shows that after getting counselling and rehab help before and after giving birth, only a third of the mothers had their infants removed from their care. A third of mothers coped with some support, and the last third were considered fit mothers.

"The results are even more amazing if you consider how bad the mothers' initial condition was. Mothers who come to the homes have started using drugs or alcohol on average at age 14, and when they arrive at rehabilitation they are around 25 years old," according to a statement released by the Federation.

In addition, the percentage of newborns needing detox treatment has decreased from 20 to 10 percent.

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