By Mark Powell
Newborns Growing with Moms, Moms Growing in Recovery
When a baby is born, a window opens on a special time for mother and newborn. One of life’s most important bonds is formed over the following weeks and months. When it’s strong and healthy, that bond can produce results for a lifetime.
But what about mothers who are incarcerated when their child arrives? What about women who struggle in their parenting role? And what about the life that has just begun; what does the future hold for that baby?
Understanding the importance of those early bonds, the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) created the Moms and Babies program in 2007. It provides women who give birth while in custody an opportunity to be with their child while learning parenting skills that will make them better mothers.
“The women realize this is an important opportunity for them,” says Jane Moskus, acting warden at Decatur Correctional Center. “Mothers are able to bond with their child directly from birth. They do a lot of programming, share a lot of family visits, and spend lots of one-on-one time together. That’s essential."
Administered by IDOC, the program is located at the Decatur Correctional Center. Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) has provided case management services for the program since 2012. Pregnant mothers who come to the department of corrections have the opportunity to be screened for eligibility into this program. Women who meet the criteria for the program are moved to Decatur Correctional Center, where they are placed in a special housing unit with other Moms and Babies partic