The Plan of Safe Care Initiative: Supporting Mothers and Babies in Wyoming - Child Development Center of Natrona County

The Plan of Safe Care Initiative: Supporting Mothers and Babies in Wyoming

In the 2023 legislative session, legislation passed that would provide support and safety to pregnant women who have experienced or are currently experiencing substance abuse issues while pregnant. The Wyoming Plan of Safe Care, according to the bill itself is “an act relating to public health and safety; requiring health care providers to develop plans of safe care for infants as specified.”

Per Wyoming DFS, “The Wyoming Plan of Safe Care initiative is a statewide effort to promote a multidisciplinary approach to supporting pregnant women who experience substance use, and their babies. The ultimate goal is ensuring families have the support needed to ensure a greater likelihood of family stability and reduce separation of mother and baby.”

In essence, it’s a partnership between multiple local agencies, designed to help mother and baby remain healthy and safe. Such agencies as WIC, Wyoming Hand in Hand- Public Health Nursing, Parents as Teachers, relapse prevention, prenatal and postpartum care, and more.

The bill states that one of the requirements of the Plan of Safe Care is the implementation of an “Early Intervention and Education program,” which would provide services for infants and children with developmental delays and disabilities.

In Natrona County, that Early Intervention and Education program comes from the Child Development Center.

“Back in January, the law came into effect that every baby who’s born substance-exposed must have a Plan of Safe Care in place,” said Alisha Rone, the Executive Director of the Child Development Center. “And a Plan of Safe Care is really just that; a plan that will support mom and baby for the future.”

A Plan of Safe Care (POSC) is designed to ensure the safety and well-being of an infant with prenatal exposure, following his or her release from the care of a healthcare provider, by addressing the health and substance use treatment needs of the infant and affected family or caregiver.

“It was put in law that every baby who has a Plan of Safe Care will then be referred to Child Development Centers across the state to receive early intervention services,” Rone stated. “A Plan of Safe Care ultimately determines what the needs are of the mom and the baby, prior to them leaving the hospital. So if a mom wants to get substance abuse treatment, or if she needs help with WIC [a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children], or wants support from Parents as Teachers, that Plan of Safe Care involves several different community partners to ultimately provide wraparound services for mom and baby.”

The Child Development Center of Natrona County was a prime partner for this state mandate because, for years, it has provided early intervention services for children from all sorts of different backgrounds.

The CDC provides a variety of services for children in Wyoming, including free developmental screenings, cognitive and pre-academic skill development, social and emotional development, family service coordination, occupational, speech and physical therapy, and so much more. That’s not even taking into account the services that come from CDC+, such as pediatric audiology, reading coaching, and various types of therapy services.
Like all of the other services offered by the Child Development Center, the Plan of Safe Care is designed to help parents ensure that their child is happy, healthy, and safe.

“The Plan of Safe Care is truly just a plan of support for mom and baby,” Rone stated. “It’s not something to be afraid of or embarrassed by. It’s not something that is looked down upon . It’s truly just a plan of support with community partners. I see it as a wonderful thing to have in place for parents and babies.”

This is an opportunity for parents from all walks of life, of all different backgrounds, with all kinds of different stories, to have support when they enter the biggest chapter of their lives. In Wyoming, they do not have to do it alone. For the parents who are struggling – with addiction issues or something else entirely – it can feel like they’re stranded in a vast ocean; one with overwhelming waves and the life raft is a Plan of Safe Care, with endless support.

For more information, please call the Child Development Center at 307-235-5097.