The goal of this initiative is to reduce the adverse outcomes of perinatal (during and after pregnancy) drug and alcohol use for newborns and families. 

Perinatal drug and alcohol use has serious impacts on the health and well-being of children and families around Montana: the problem is on the rise, and affected families are not adequately served by Montana’s current health care system and social services. The number of Montana children in foster care more than doubled since 2011; out of more than 3,200 children in foster care in 2016, 64% were removed from the home for reasons related to parental substance abuse. Among Medicaid patients, the percentage of infants with perinatal drug exposure increased from 3.7% in 2010 to 12.3% in 2016. In a 2017 report, we found that only 6% of Montana’s state-licensed substance use disorder treatment programs serve pregnant women or young families.

There is strong evidence that a few simple interventions can help Montana make a big difference in the lives and health outcomes of families affected by this serious problem. For 2018, we are pleased to announce a major, multi-year commitment to solving perinatal drug and alcohol use.

Early work by our grantees and our review of the literature on programs that address perinatal drug and alcohol use show that supportive, team-based care and better coordination between health care providers and social service agencies offer a powerful way to improve these outcomes.

Funding Opportunity

Grant opportunities are for hospitals and clinics that provide prenatal care, deliver babies, and provide inpatient newborn care. Required grant elements include:

  • Clinical Team: Establish a care team that includes prenatal and post-delivery care with care coordination and “warm hand-offs” to a licensed behavioral health clinician. 
  • Community-Wide Reach: Develop partnerships and a defined referral pattern among practices in the community so that most prenatal patients are screened for substance use disorders and those that need care are cared for by the clinical team. 
  • Multidisciplinary Collaboration: Develop collaborations among the clinical team, child protective services, public health and home visiting programs, criminal justice, and other agencies as appropriate. 
  • Unmet Social Needs: Screen for social needs and use care coordination and collaboration with local organizations to address needs such as transportation, housing, and additional intensive treatment. 
  • Culture Change and Communications: Develop and promote (both in the hospital and community) a supportive approach that engages women and increases participation in prenatal care and substance use disorder treatment. 
  • SBIRT: Implement screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment for pregnant women. 
  • Collaboration with Tribes or Urban Indian Health Centers: Develop a strong collaboration with the appropriate tribal or urban Indian health centers if caring for a substantial number of American Indian families. 

If you are interested in applying for a grant under this initiative, please contact MHCF Senior Program Officer Tressie White

Grant decisions will be based on our general selection criteria (which can be found in our 2018 Call for Proposals) and the specific requirements for this initiative.

Integrated Behavioral

Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Treatment

Health Leadership

Focus Area: Behavioral

Solving Perinatal Drug and Alcohol Use Resources

Our Work in Solving Perinatal Drug and Alcohol Use

Solving Perinatal Drug and Alcohol Use Grantees

Saint James Healthcare Foundation

A Relational Model for Reducing Perinatal Substance Use Disorders in Southwest Montana

Grant Term: 24 months; 2018-2020
Grant Amount: $150,000

For this project, Saint James Healthcare (SJH), in partnership with a network of community partners, will work to prevent perinatal substance abuse and improve care and access for pregnant women struggling with substance use in Southwest Montana. The multidisciplinary community team includes SJH, Montana Chemical Dependency Center, Southwest Montana Community Health Center, the Butte-Silver Bow Health Department, the Southwest Region Child & Family Services, and the Butte Community Action Team. This program a relational model of care and education inclusive of behavioral health, consistent prenatal care, and care coordination to address social factors impeding treatment. As a key component, the program engages the father or significant partner within the sphere of care, treatment, and social support. The program seeks to reduce occurrences of substance use in pregnancy and specifically encourages a path to long-term recovery through early detection and intervention, accessible treatment, and increasing community awareness. SJH will create a clinical team consisting of a social worker/care coordinator, a licensed behavioral health provider and family medicine physicians and an obstetric provider. Grant funds will be used primarily to support personnel and facilitate travel.

Providence Montana Health Foundation

A Collaborative Approach to Screening and Treatment of Perinatal Drug Use Disorders

Grant Term: 24 months; 2018-2020
Grant Amount: $150,000

For this project, Missoula’s Providence Saint Patrick Hospital (SPH) will implement a collaborative approach to screen for and treat perinatal drug use. The goal of this project is to provide holistic, non-judgmental care empowering women with skills and resources to successfully care for their newborns, especially those with neonatal abstinence syndrome. The hospital’s family maternity center and neurobehavioral health will partner with Western Montana Clinic’s obstetrics and gynecology providers to establish and implement a clinical care team that includes licensed behavioral health clinicians. At the community-level, partnerships will be established with the Missoula City-County Health Department, the neonatal abstinence syndrome workgroup, child protective services, and other appropriate agencies. Providence SPH and Community Medical Center will work collaboratively on educational and outreach efforts for staff and the community-at-large regarding the critical importance of addressing the impact of perinatal drug and alcohol use in Missoula. A central focus is provider education regarding the need for universal drug screening for all pregnant women in Missoula and the surrounding areas to improve health outcomes for mothers and their newborns. Grant funds will be primarily used for personnel including a behavioral health provider and childbirth educator.

Community Medical Center

Improving Screening and Treatment for Perinatal Drug Use in Missoula

Grant Term: 24 months; 2018-2020
Grant Amount: $150,000

For this project, Community Medical Center (CMC) will work to improve the quality of care for pregnant women and infants affected by substance use disorders in Missoula County. In collaboration with Partnership Health Center, Saint Patrick’s Hospital, and community groups serving pregnant women, this project’s goal is to reduce the stigma that prevents many women with substance use disorders from seeking help. As a part of the project, obstetric offices will standardize screening and care for women with substance use disorders and partner with community organizations to provide referrals to addiction support services. As a part of the project, CMC’s mother-baby unit will institute a program to engage parents as partners in the treatment of neonatal abstinence syndrome after birth. This approach will train parents to use evidence-based, non-pharmacologic methods to soothe withdrawal symptoms in babies. The goal of this approach is to improve mother-infant bonding, strengthen families, decrease pharmacologic treatment and long hospital stays, and decrease foster care placements in Missoula County. Grant funds will be used for personnel expenses, staff training, and communications and marketing materials.

Benefis Health System Foundation

Addressing Perinatal Substance Use Disorders in Cascade County and Montana Northern Tribes

Grant Term: 24 months; 2018-2020
Grant Amount: $150,000

Benefis Hospital, together with community agencies, will work to reduce the adverse outcomes of perinatal drug and alcohol use for newborns and their families through supportive, team-based care and better coordination between health care providers and social service agencies. Benefis will implement SBIRT (screening, brief intervention, and referral to care) as a routine part of perinatal care and develop a system of care coordination for pregnant women who are identified through routine screening. The hospital will invite and engage outside providers to implement a similar model of team-based care throughout the community, and partnerships with outside social service agencies and neighboring tribes will be established throughout the course of the project. Grants funding will be used to support the project coordinator position.

Kalispell Regional Medical Center: Pathways Treatment Center

Integrated Behavioral Healthcare for High Risk Pregnant Women

Project Term: 24 months; 2017-2019
Grant Amount: $150,000

With consultation from the National Council for Behavioral Health, this project will integrate behavioral health services into obstetrics (OB) care at Kalispell Regional Medical Center. Once implemented, behavioral health screening, diagnosis, and treatment will be fully integrated into the OB clinical care, and provided to mothers as part of standard prenatal care practice. Grant funding will be used to hire a OB behavioral health care coordinator who will offer behavioral health and substance use disorder screenings and treatment to at-risk mothers, develop and implement a fully integrated system of care in the OB clinic, and make necessary referrals to community based care after birth.


2018 Call for Proposals

Find out about this year’s available grants.