Child Welfare, Maternal Care Agencies to Integrate Services

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Catholic Guardian Society and Home Bureau, a sponsored agency of the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, and Rosalie Hall, a home for pregnant women and mothers and babies, have agreed to coordinate and integrate their maternity and mother-child services, Catholic Charities has announced.

The move came in response to the rising needs of young women and low-income households—the individuals and families hardest hit by the economic downturn, the July 14 announcement said. The agencies will pursue a full corporate merger, it said.

In the interim, they will operate with a new division of Catholic Guardian Society and Home Bureau (CGSHB) called the Rosalie Hall Maternity Services Division.

The new division will include CGSHB’s current maternity services department and maternity/mother child residence for adolescent mothers in foster care, the Rosalie Hall residential program for pregnant women and their newborn children, and both agencies’ community-based support services. The goal is an expanded and seamless delivery of services to pregnant women, mothers and their children and families in need, Catholic Charities said.

Since 1887, Rosalie Hall has welcomed pregnant women, first in a maternity shelter for the poor that offered sanctuary, food, medicine and the acceptance, support and guidance of the Misericordia Sisters. Later, the sisters operated a publicly funded home for pregnant women and their newborns at Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center, and later at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx.

Rosalie Hall provides residential programs and supportive services such as community outreach, peer-to-peer counseling, mentoring, parenting skills training, and aftercare for pregnant and parenting women.

Catholic Guardian Society and Home Bureau (CGSHB) is a multi-service agency with community-based programs that include child abuse and neglect preventive services; foster care; public, private and international adoptions; day care; shelter care for homeless women and children; maternity services; preventive and aftercare for juvenile offenders; and residential living for the developmentally disabled.

John Frein is executive director of Catholic Guardian Society and Home Bureau, and Dr. Steven Parker is executive director of Rosalie Hall. Dr. Parker will provide clinical direction for a new initiative, the CGSHB Center of Excellence.

Senior personnel of both organizations will play leadership roles in the development of the Rosalie Hall Maternity Services Division, which will be managed by Kathleen Dooley-Polcha, director of maternity services for CGSHB. The current president of Rosalie Hall, Sister Diane Prusinski, S.M., will join CGSHB to promote support of its efforts.

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