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Providing in-home mental health and substance use disorder treatment during pregnancy and postpartum.

In addition to the stigma already associated with substance use, those who are pregnant and parenting also face other obstacles to receiving treatment. Lack of transportation and inability to find adequate childcare are some of the barriers women face. This is why many in this group decide not to seek the help they need.

START is our free community-based, home visitation and telehealth service for pregnant and postpartum persons seeking substance use treatment. This 18-month program is staffed by licensed clinicians, community doulas and peer recovery specialists who bring the expertise and perspective of individuals living in recovery.

START is available in:

  • Essex
  • Hudson
  • Hunterdon
  • Middlesex
  • Morris
  • Passaic
  • Somerset
  • Union
  • With plans to continue to expand to more counties in the future.
Peer Recovery Support

The Role of  Certified Specialists

Coaching and mentoring with a certified peer recovery specialist provides the perspective and insight of someone living in recovery. Peers work closely with each family and their licensed therapist to assist in setting and reaching recovery goals. Peer recovery specialists are trained in Brazelton Touchpoints, an evidence-based relational health intervention.

Comprehensive Doula Support

Integrated Doula Care and Case Management

START doula/case managers provide support and advocacy across all domains of life. During pregnancy, doulas help families create a birth plan and provide transportation to prenatal visits. Plans of safe care, co-created with families, intended to avoid removal of custody at birth. Families receive labor support and advocacy at the hospital, supporting a trauma-informed childbirth experience and bonding after birth. Services include lactation counseling, promoting a connected feeding experience for both bottle feeding and breastfeeding families. In-home postpartum sessions focus on physical and emotional care of the mother-baby dyad and support for infant sleep, feeding and soothing. Doulas help families access social determinants of health, ensuring that basic needs are met. START doulas are trained in Brazelton Newborn Behavioral Observation, an evidence-based intervention supporting relationship development between parents and their newborns.

Relationship-Based Substance Use Counseling

Relationship-Based Substance Use Counseling Certified Specialists

START’s unique focus on infant and early childhood relational health changes the trajectory of intergenerational patterns of substance use, starting with the relationship between mother and child. Licensed clinicians provide a minimum of one, one-hour session per week, offering client-centered interventions, guided by individualized treatment plans. Positive outcomes include long-term recovery and secure attachment between mother and infant. Child Parent Psychotherapy is one of the relationship-based approaches offered to families who have been impacted by trauma.


Click to WatchLearn more about START

Fact Trivia

The START program draws inspiration from the Japanese art form, Kintsugi, in which broken bowls are mended with golden lacquer. This metaphor guides our clinical work: that what may appear to be broken is made stronger and more beautiful through the process of healing.

contact us

Jennifer Kennedy,

Contact our Program Manager


(732) 434-8577

Hunterdon, Middlesex, Morris and Somerset Counties:

120 Finderne Ave
Bridgewater, NJ 08807

Essex, Hudson, Passaic, and Union Counties:

7 Glenwood Avenue
East Orange, NJ 07017

Send us a message


    “We are able to understand so much more about the child and mom and their system because we’re in their home and we can become a part of things. We can get a feel for what their challenges and their strengths may be.”

    Carolyn Flynn, LPC, CD, IMH-E®

    Director, Infant and Early Childhood Relational Health

    “I’ll have the chance to be in the START program for 18 months which is very comforting.”


    START Program

    “What makes the START program unique is that we have doulas who are caseworkers—who do the work with women with substance use disorders.”

    Team Member

    START Program

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    To refer a client please use the QR code or click the button.