Spectrum of early intervention services for children with intrauterine drug exposure

Harolyn M.E. Belcher, Arlene M. Butz, Pamela Wallace, Alexander H. Hoon, Elsie Reinhardt, Sharon A. Reeves, Margaret B. Pulsifer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intrauterine illicit drug exposure may lead to a variety of adverse neurobehavioral and neurodevelopmental outcomes. Providing early intervention to reduce the impact of maternal substance abuse on the developing fetus may have significant benefits for the child and family. In this article, we report on 3 promising intervention programs designed to improve the well-being of parents with drug dependence and their children. The initiation of these programs spans from pregnancy through early childhood. All 3 programs are community-based, using comprehensive culturally relevant developmental models. The first program was developed to provide comprehensive care for pregnant women with drug dependence and their newborns. Project STRIVE (Support, Trust, Rehabilitation, Initiative, Values, and Education) provided substance abuse treatment, intensive center- and home-based social work, and parent education onsite at a high-risk obstetric and pediatric clinic. The second program, the Early Infant Transition Center, enrolled newborns with a history of neonatal abstinence syndrome and their mothers. Based in a renovated rowhouse in East Baltimore, one block away from a major urban hospital, the Early Infant Transition Center provided 24-hour nursing care, oncall physicians and nurse practitioners, social workers, parent education, and onsite sleeping accommodation for parents during their infant's recovery. The third program, Home-U-Go Safely, used community-based nurses to give home-based health monitoring, education, and support to new mothers with a history of cocaine and/or opiate dependence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2-15
Number of pages14
JournalInfants and Young Children
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005


  • Early intervention
  • Growth outcome
  • Intrauterine drug exposure
  • Maternal substance abuse
  • Neurobehavior
  • Neuromotor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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