A single mother-to-be living in Cleveland was pregnant with her first child when she lost her job, started falling behind in her rent and received an eviction notice. She turned to the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland (CEOGC), the local Community Action Agency, for assistance.
CEOGC offers a program called Baby And Mommy Support (BAMS) that offers assistance for high-risk pregnancies. Since Cleveland has a higher than normal rate of high-risk pregnancies that can result in still births, low birth weight, breathing problems, etc. the program provides educational workshops on nutrition, well-baby care, the dangers of smoking, alcohol and drug use during pregnancy, as well as emergency assistance to purchase needed clothing, food and other needs to deliver a healthy baby.
This mother-to-be entered the BAMS program in her second trimester. CEOGC was able to provide her with rental assistance so that she could keep her housing. She also received other emergency services, such as maternity clothes, a crib and mattress, and other items for the baby.
As part of the program the mothers-to-be meet regularly with a Family Development Specialist who helps them to meet their goals in delivering a healthy baby. While in the program, this mother-to-be attended regular visits with her Family Development Specialist, her OB/GYN, BAMS wellness workshops, and appointments for Women Infants and Children (WIC), a government program that provides supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant and postpartum women, and to infants and children at nutritional risk. She did have some medical complications with gestational diabetes that required her to be on bed rest for a while, but this did not deter her from keeping in contact with her Family Development Specialist and her doctor.
Thanks to the BAMS program, she did delivery a healthy baby and is maintaining a healthy lifestyle for her and her baby. She has obtained employment working with people with mental health challenges and continues to keep in contact with her Family Development Specialist who helped her overcome many obstacles.
For more information about Community Action programs in your area, visit www.oacaa.org. Note, not all Community Action Agencies offer these programs.