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Everett Nonprofit: A Vital Support for New Mothers in Need

Everett is where Aunalisa Dawn Evans resided, in need of eyeglasses. Last spring, she sported damaged dollar store frames, propped up by a single arm and lacking a nose piece. The lenses were ill-fitting, cracked, and scratched, affecting her eyesight. It had been approximately ten years since her last eye examination.

Upon enrolling at the University of Washington in March, Evans, aged 32, was living in a van, endeavoring to regain custody of her young child while grappling with dependencies on opioids and meth. Shortly thereafter, she discovered she was expecting another child.

Jennifer Ross, a case manager at the Snohomish County Parent-Child Assistance Program site, stepped in to assist. This nonprofit, based in Everett and affiliated with the university, operates with the goal of aiding mothers who engage in substance use during pregnancy. Eligibility for the program extends for two years postpartum.

The University of Washington and local agencies overseeing PCAP collaborate with the state Health Care Authority to finance the initiative, amounting to around $15 million annually. In the previous year, a total of 1,286 clients were enrolled statewide.

The escalation of opioid-related fatalities in Snohomish County, primarily due to the proliferation of cheap, potent fentanyl, has been alarming. Data from the county medical examiner reveals a consistent rise in overdoses annually.

A study conducted by the University of Washington underscores the program’s efficacy. From 2015 to 2021, 88% of program graduates had completed addiction treatment or were actively enrolled. Within that cohort, 52% pursued vocational training, college courses, or GED classes during their program tenure.

Case managers play a pivotal role in helping clients overcome obstacles and access essential resources, such as acquiring new eyeglasses.

Ross, a dedicated advocate, recognized the significance of addressing Evans’ eyewear concerns promptly. Despite financial constraints, Ross secured a substantial discount at Lynnwood Visionworks, where Evans obtained the necessary exam, frames, and lenses for a mere $50. This transformation not only improved Evans’ vision but also restored her self-esteem, liberating her from feelings of shame and social withdrawal.

Ross’s unwavering determination and persistence were instrumental in facilitating this positive outcome. Her personal journey as a stay-at-home mother turned PCAP case manager underscores her commitment to family reunification and healing intergenerational trauma.

The PCAP, rooted in a 1980s study on prenatal cocaine exposure, emphasizes the enduring bond between clients and case managers. This three-year program prioritizes safeguarding future generations from prenatal substance exposure while fostering stability and empowerment among participants.

Ross’s holistic approach extends beyond addressing immediate needs to empowering clients to advocate for themselves and navigate the complex web of social services effectively. By fostering trust and providing unwavering support, case managers like Ross play a pivotal role in guiding clients towards recovery and self-sufficiency.

The profound impact of PCAP is evident in success stories like Evans’, who, after completing addiction treatment and achieving sobriety, is now transitioning to permanent housing with Ross’s guidance. Evans’ journey exemplifies the transformative power of compassionate support and comprehensive care in rebuilding shattered lives.

For individuals seeking assistance, the Snohomish County Parent-Child Assistance Program offers a vital lifeline, embodying a beacon of hope and healing for those navigating the challenges of substance use and parenthood.