(Memphis) A mother is in jail after her baby is born addicted to drugs and prosecutors say Juanita Hardin has given birth to not one, but four babies addicted to cocaine in the last five years.
Hardin is currently being evaluated to see if she qualifies for a program recently created by the district attorney.
The program is called “Born Addicted” and it’s been around for almost a year.
So far, it’s helped 16 mothers who given birth to a total of 63 children.
Shelby Court Drug Court Counselor Katherine McMullen says she got an email about the woman this morning, a woman who police say has given birth to four drug addicted babies since 2007, the last one on December 8th.
At delivery, they say Hardin’s baby tested positive for cocaine.
“It is shocking and mind-boggling and unfortunately, not uncommon,” said Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich.
Weirich says drug-addicted babies are born every day in Shelby County and that’s why last February, prosecutors and social workers created the program called Born Addicted.
“If she is assessed as eligible for this program, I’ll get her,” says McMullen.
Mcmullen says the program selects women who want to change, then places them in residential drug treatment for up to six months.
After that, they transition to a half-way house and if they do well, they get help reuniting with their children.
“There is help for the children in terms of helping the mother,” said McMuleln. “If she can be helped, then she can pass that legacy onto her child.”
“We are trying to get these children reunited with a parent that has the skills to take care of them,” said Weirich.
But Weirich admits the program only reaches a fraction of the women who go through the system charged with reckless endangerment, leaving most mothers to fight addiction on their own and for some babies to carry that burden.
“If someone is in active addiction, unfortunately, pregnancy doesn`t mean anything necessarily,” said McMullen.
As for Hardin's children, they are being cared for by the State.