Tennessee Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, Foster Care and Grandparents Articles

May 8, 2019

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — At UT Medical Center, there's a program for pregnant women struggling with substance abuse.

As the doctors and nurses work to help expectant mothers get on a healthier path, Emily Katz has turned her position into a life mission.

“She has a passion for these women, understands where they've been and tries to look on the brighter side of things, most of our success is because of Emily,” said Craig Towers, a doc...

April 3, 2019

How could it be that 30-50 percent of the babies delivered in Nashville hospitals are born into poverty?

I was flabbergasted to learn that on average more than 6,000 of the approximate 14,650 babies born in Nashville each year are considered the hospital social workers to be in need.

At the same time, I marveled at how one mother, Lena Levendoski, transformed the heartbreak and pain she experienced with the inexplicable death of...

February 12, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee lawmakers are considering a bill that could be used to prosecute women for assault if they use illegal narcotics while pregnant and give birth to babies that are either drug-dependent or were otherwise harmed by the drugs.

A similar law passed in 2014 but has since expired.

According to the Huffington Post, an estimated 100 women were arrested under the previous law.

The updated version, known as Hous...

February 11, 2019

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--A Tennessee bill looks to prosecute pregnant women for assault if they use illegal drugs and the child is born addicted or harmed from the drug use.

HB1168/SB0659 was filed last week by Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) and Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma).

The bill states if a woman uses an illegal narcotic drug while pregnant and if the child is born addicted to or harmed by the nar...

January 29, 2019

Last June, Dajia Brown embarked on a dangerous phase of life — so dangerous that many in her situation do not survive.

It started when she gave birth to her daughter, Brooklyn, several months after entering treatment for addiction to fentanyl pills.

The postpartum period, a tough time for many women, can be particularly challenging for women with opioid use disorder, putting them at high risk of relapse and overdose.

In Massachu...

January 18, 2019

TONIGHT on NBC Nightly News:

Kate Snow reports on children whose mothers used opioids and were born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome -- and the lifelong health problems they could face.

"It's not fair," says adoptive mom Sandi, whose daughter was born with an opioid dependence.

To see more, click here:


January 3, 2019

A wave of Ohio children removed from their homes for neglect or abuse appears to have peaked, but the state's children's services system remains in crisis, a new report shows.

That's partly because the number of kids rose so high that the decline is mild in comparison, and the system of care and services needs a change, according to the Public Children Services Association of Ohio.

The nonprofit group of children services'...

October 15, 2018

Jo Lynn Seagriff wanted to be a new grandma, not a new mom.

Her 14-year-old daughter, Caroline, and 17-year-old son, Dalton, would leave home in a few years. Her oldest, Collin, 22, lived in Florida with his fiancee.

But the day before Thanksgiving 2016, Collin died of an opioid overdose. The day after Thanksgiving, his fiancee announced she was pregnant.

"I never purposely wanted to take him," Seagriff said of Brayden, her blond...

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — As a team of nurses unwrap baby Jayden from the comfort of his swaddling cloth, he wails. His tiny feet shake. His hands clench and unclench.

His suffering is obvious. Born dependent on opiates, the month-old boy and thousands like him are the smallest victims of the opioid epidemic.

Scenes like this now play out every day in hospitals across the country, as increasing numbers of women of childbearing age s...

October 5, 2018

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - Christy McQueen's son Gunner was born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or NAS. It's the term for when babies come in contact with medications or illegal drugs in the womb, and it's been a growing problem in our state.

To put it into perspective locally, East Tennessee Children's Hospital says, for the 45 babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit right now, 20 of them are being treated for drug withd...

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If they're still alive, there's hope.