Healthy mothers, healthy families: Evaluating integrated treatment for pregnant and parenting women with addictions

Funding: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Background: Among women with problems related to substance use, the majority are of child-bearing age, meaning that many face additional challenges related to pregnancy and parenting. Yet there are numerous barriers that prevent women in this target population from seeking help. Recognition of the unique needs and challenges faced by pregnant and parenting women with addictions has led to the development of integrated treatment approaches that link addiction treatment with maternal and child health and social services. We are conducting a comprehensive, mixed methods evaluation of the impact of integrated treatment for pregnant and parenting women with addictions, drawing from a suite of programs operating in Ontario. Our objectives are to: 1) investigate the meaning and processes of program integration within the broad network of community-based health and social services; 2) evaluate women’s perceptions of care; 3) assess service capacity and client engagement in addiction treatment; and 4) evaluate maternal and child health outcomes and program cost-effectiveness. The work has a strong focus on health equity, with attention to differences in perceptions and outcomes across subgroups of the population.

Progress to date: Through focus groups, interviews, and surveys with program staff, managers, service partners, and clients, with guidance from a project advisory panel, we have articulated the key principles and processes of integrated treatment, developed a model of service provision, and described the composition and structure of community care networks for this population. Analyses of maternal and child health outcomes and cost-effectiveness are in progress, drawing from linked administrative health data. 


  • Dr. Karen Urbanoski (PI)
  • Milligan, K. (PI)
  • Henderson, J. (Co-PI)
  • Niccols, A. (Co-PI)
  • Gomes, T. (Co-PI)
  • de Oliveira, C. (Co-PI)
  • Cain-Moroz, D. (Collaborator)
  • Hume, L. (KU)
  • Acco Weston, N. (KU)