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Greater Support Becoming Available for At-Risk Mothers

New mothers and pregnant women taking part in Sanctum Care Group Inc. (Sanctum) programs now have greater access to supports thanks to an enhanced partnership between the Ministry of Social Services, Ministry of Health and the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). As announced in the 2023-24 provincial budget, each ministry is providing an additional $325,000 to support Sanctum’s Prenatal Outreach and Resource Team (PORT) and Sanctum 1.5 programs, for a total increased government commitment of $650,000.

“Sanctum does incredible work helping mothers live healthier lives in the community with their children,” Social Services Minister Gene Makowsky said. “Investments in prevention services, such as those provided through Sanctum, support parents to safely care for their children. This additional funding will help them enhance their services and further their ability to do this important work.”

The funding enables Sanctum to expand programming with the creation of four new positions that will allow them to extend clinic service hours overnight. These services ensure mothers in Regina, Saskatoon, and Prince Albert have the support necessary to safely parent their children and decrease barriers in accessing health and social services.

“This project is a great opportunity to expand services for high-risk expectant mothers, and ensure that the mothers and their children receive the support they need,” Health Minister Everett Hindley said. “I commend Sanctum Care Group for their dedication to the health and wellness of individuals living with HIV and working to overcome addictions.”

Sanctum’s PORT program supports women in complex life situations by providing early interventions that reduce health complications in mothers and babies. Sanctum 1.5 addresses the health and wellbeing of high-risk pregnant women and their children. Both programs aim to help at-risk mothers safely care for their children, reduce the number of children entering out-of-home care and reduce perinatal transmission of HIV. 

Since 2018, Sanctum 1.5 has supported 136 pregnant women and their newborns. 76 per cent of mothers who graduate Sanctum 1.5 have custody of their infants, and 89 children in out-of-home care have been reunited with their mothers. No HIV positive babies have been born to mothers who resided at Sanctum 1.5 during pregnancy. PORT has now worked with 243 pregnant women and their children, with 80 per cent of mothers maintaining custody of their child. 

“Our organization is thrilled to be able expand our services across the province through our PORT program,” Sanctum Executive Director Katelyn Roberts said. “This program has proven in a short period of time the immense need for this type of support during pregnancy and the incredible outcomes that can be achieved through preventative, trauma-informed approaches to care that focus on the health and social needs of complex patient populations.”

Sanctum is a community-based organization made up of interagency professionals who work with people affected by HIV, addictions, mental health issues, poverty and homelessness. Sanctum currently operates five programs that support people who face an intersection of health and social barriers in the community: Sanctum, HART (HIV AIDS Response Team), Sanctum 1.5 and PORT.

To learn more about Sanctum, please visit: www.sanctumcaregroup.com.

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