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PHOENIX – Phoenix Kindergarten has a mission to treat children born under the influence of drugs. Hushabye Nursery also provides resources for mothers who engage in drug addiction during and after pregnancy.

Clarissa Collins from Tempe is one of those mothers. She had her first daughter at the age of 17 and soon became addicted to heroin.

“I finally relinquished my rights to him, DCS was involved, he is now in Louisiana with my cousin,” he said.

Collins ended his probationary period with adjuvant medication. Two years later, when she learned she was pregnant again, she began attending Husabie Kindergarten support sessions.

His daughter, Cali, is almost 2 years old. Ին Collins works in kindergarten as a certified peer support specialist.

“It’s great that I was able to start from the beginning, go through the program, be healthy enough, and now I can give it back to other mothers,” she said. “I’m there for emotional support, I’m reminding them that I’m also recovering, I’m gone through the Hushabye program, DCS, I understand all the emotions you’re feeling, it’s perfectly normal.”

Tara Sundem is the Executive Director of Hushabye Kindergarten. He said they are working to meet the mothers, where they are recovering.

“And I hope we prepare them for when they come here, they know how to take care of their child, to protect them,” Sandem said.

Sundem is a neonatal maternity nurse who has been working with newborns for over 25 years. He said Husabi had treated nearly 100 babies since the opening of McDowell, 32nd Street, in November 2020.

Babies come from all the hospitals in the valley և they use dark, quiet rooms to help the children get out. Sundem said their method of personal care was successful.

“Families are better off receiving treatment to be successful in keeping families together,” he said. “If they are involved in our prenatal delivery program, 85% of those newborns go home with their families.”

Overdose cases have been on the rise since COVID. Sundem said they now work with 76 pregnant mothers.

“We just need a lot of hands to meet their needs, where we do not have those hands in the neonatal intensive care unit,” he said.

Collins is one of those success stories. Her fiancé, who is also recovering, did well and is proud to have raised their little girl.

“It’s something that none of us thought we would ever be able to do, that being here is in itself high,” Rollins said. To be able to watch him grow every day, to see all the new things he has done, to teach him everything, to look back, he may know, ‘I did it this time.’

Learn more about Hushababy Kindergarten here.

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