January is often seen as a time of new beginnings, and so it was in January 2020 that Catholic Charities officially expanded its family transitional housing program at St. Margaret of Cortona in Woodbridge – geared to single mothers and their children – to include a maternity program for vulnerable pregnant mothers, with or without other children.

This year, with three new infant residents in our midst, we celebrate this special ministry’s one year anniversary.

“We conceived the maternity program with the understanding that expectant mothers facing extremely difficult and at-risk-of-harm circumstances, needed time and a safe place for birth, bonding and re-employment after delivery,” said St. Margaret Program Director Veronica Roth.

The program time begins when the pregnant mom enters St. Margaret’s and extends for 90 days post-delivery. During this time, moms receive case management that concentrates on financial stability, nutrition and medical appointments for mother and child.

Our in-house art therapist uses the creative process of making art to counsel women and assist them as they address past trauma and develop healthy planning and coping strategies.

“For the first time, myself and my family got to experience what life is like when our basic needs are being met. I now have standards of living that I want to pass onto my children.”

Jamila, a young St. Margaret’s mother

In coordination with Catholic Charities Pregnancy and Adoption Services,  our own Child Development Services Worker provides birth planning and as well as support for siblings through school or daycare enrollment assistance.

During the 90 days after delivery, families who meet all participation and eligibility requirements, may apply for an additional 24 months of transitional housing, which includes continuation of services, work development support, such as resume writing, interview skills and job search or even GED or vocational training to increase career opportunities.  

As we recognize our first year, offering Maternity Housing,  we celebrate three beautiful new lives who made St. Margaret’s their first home.

newborn baby girl
Born Winter 2020, Angela, a precious baby girl swept in with an early snowfall. Now, her mom and siblings have secured housing and are now living independently. (stock photo)

Little Katrina arrived as flowers in the St. Margaret prayer garden bloomed. Her mom is continuing in the transitional component of the program. Staff have been delighted to watch Katrina grow. Katrina celebrated her first St. Margaret Christmas with momma and siblings.
Born Summer 2020 – This little wide eyed sprite is baby girl Emma! Bright and alert as a summer’s day, Emma lives independently with her mother now.

The staff at St. Margaret of Cortona Housing programs and the Pregnancy & Adoption Services thank our friends and donors for their continued support for these families – especially those who helped make their family Christmases special. By God’s grace and with donor support, our St. Margaret mothers are able to get the essential wrap-around support they need so they can raise happy, healthy families, move toward self-sustaining, independent living in the community, and thrive.

The babies have been a blessing  to us all!

For more information about St. Margaret of Cortona Transitional Housing and Maternity Program go to ccda.net.