Peer-Based Training Brings Collaboration to those who Serve Pregnant and Parenting Women

Erika Holliday, MPH
Mid-America Addiction Technology Transfer Center

Inspiration can often come from collaboration and growth amongst like-minded individuals. Finding a community that shares critical life experiences can transform into impactful change at the organizational and community level. Creating such community was an unforeseen joy that sprouted from one of the Mid-America ATTC’s latest programs, “Providing Peer Based Recovery Support Services for Pregnant and Parenting Families,” a two part training and 6-week learning collaborative for peer specialists/recovery coaches and supervisors of peer specialists who want to develop expertise in serving pregnant and parenting families impacted by substance use and/or opioid dependence. The National Opioid Response Network developed the training curriculum and Mid-America ATTC requested permission to pilot the curriculum. In collaboration with the regional ORN TAP J 15.

The training was created by Sharon Hesseltine, the President and CEO of New Beginnings Consulting and Training, and Lonnetta Albright, President and Owner of Moving Forward Inc. The training focused on being recovery-oriented, and person-centered, and looked at key functions such as recovery planning. Challenges from working in diverse settings such as health care or child welfare were explored as well as aspects of the work that is unique to Peers who support pregnant and parenting families. The training also looked at the relationship around the process of becoming a family through pregnancy, delivery and parenting babies who have experienced Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and/or Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome (NAS/NOWS.)

The Peers training was a great success. The training evaluation indicated that 100% of participants deemed it to be useful, would recommend it to others, and were confident they could apply what they learned to their work as Peer Recovery Support Specialists, or a supervisor of Peer Specialists. More than learning new, important skills, participants indicated they found a new sense of community. One of the participants shared these thoughts with the Mid-America ATTC about the training:

“I have not had training in this area so it was very helpful and reminded me that the effects of mood-altering substances start at conception for our little ones. I really enjoyed getting to collaborate with other professionals in different states on how they run their organizations. I will definitely be focusing on building on strengths with our ladies and pointing out the strengths that our children have and how that plays a role in our daily lives as parents. Thank you so much for the opportunity to get to learn more and make new friends.”

Another participant shared:

“As a recovery coach I have the experience of my own recovery as a tool that can be used to help those new to recovery. With this training I was able to fill my tool bag. So much I learned! Thank you for sharing the wisdom that was given. I can only hope that I will be able to make an impact on the lives of others I get to help.”

The Mid-America ATTC is so pleased to assist in providing impactful knowledge and relationships with those on the ground who are making an effective difference in the field of substance use recovery. With the overwhelming success of this training, we plan to offer it again in 2021, and potentially more often as the work continues.


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