BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF)
When a baby is born at WVU Medicine Wheeling or Reynolds Memorial Hospital, both mother and baby are drug tested.
If there is a positive test result, there will soon be an additional layer of support for that family.
The Belmont County Department of Job & Family Services will send a visiting nurse to visit the family in their home.
It is made possible by a state Communities of Support grant, providing intervention for CARA, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.
Christine Parker, DJFS administrator, says the hospital refers the case to Children’s Services, and together they work on a plan of safe care.
The DJFS will contract with the Belmont County Health Department to provide the visiting nurse.
Currently the health department is in the process of hiring a nurse to fill a job opening.
Once that person is hired, the program will start.
Officials say the rate of babies testing positive for drugs has risen dramatically in the past five years.
The visiting nurse will go to the house and do an assessment of the baby’s physical health, talk to the family about their needs and follow up on services for the mother and baby.
“It’s just another set of eyes on how the mother and baby are doing,” said Parker.
The family can refuse the visit.