Expertise in Indiana Health

CARE Plus Frequently Asked Questions

CARE Plus is an innovative, evidence-based pilot program aimed at providing tools for mother-infant pairs who suffer from opioid dependence so these women can best care for their babies and seek treatment for themselves. It builds on an existing IU School of Medicine program called WeCare that is designed to decrease infant mortality in Indiana by addressing common risk factors such as smoking, mental health, obesity/access to healthy food, and failure to use safe sleep practices. CARE stands for Community-based Addiction Reduction Program.

Opioid abuse by pregnant and new mothers is a growing problem. In 2014, 657 infants were born across the state with neonatal abstinence syndrome, which results from a mother’s use of opioids. When these mothers are discharged without support, they face many obstacles to treatment and their babies are put at further risk—both short term and long term. Since WeCare first launched in 2016, experts involved found that 12 to 15 percent of participating women were screening positive for substance abuse. CARE Plus seeks to address this population with even more customized services.

All opioid-dependent mothers who deliver babies at IU Health Methodist Hospital will be offered the opportunity to participate in CARE Plus. The goal is to use this pilot to create a model for serving postpartum mothers with opioid dependency and their babies across the state. IU School of Medicine will develop a toolkit to be shared with other health systems and nonprofits so that the program can be replicated.

Participants receive a connection to services such as medication-assisted treatment, mental health services, vital social services that provide access to food, housing and transportation, personalized coaching and supportive text messaging, and therapy designed to develop strong emotional bonds with their children.

For more information about CARE Plus, contact Kathleen Sobiech, PhD at ksobiech@regenstrief.org.