Since Good Counsel opened its DayStar Home in 1999 on the grounds of St. Vincent’s Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, this unique residence for pregnant women, who have mental illness and who may also be dual diagnosed with an addiction, has helped mothers make the difficult transition from suffering with long-term mental and physical challenges to become stable and loving mothers and productive citizens in the communities in which they live.
We strive to form a much-needed, trusting relationship with each mother, instilling confidence and empowering them to break the cycle of poverty by achieving a better life for their children and themselves. Every Good Counsel home is significantly more than just a shelter for homeless pregnant women, but DayStar goes even further, providing healing and help for women in the most desperate of circumstances. Staffed 24/7 by trained professionals, DayStar exists to give mothers in crisis unique structure, responsibility, and skills they need to raise their children with dignity and promise.
To help each mother develop a vision for her future, continue her education, and find work, Good Counsel senior staff design and implement required daily Life-Skills instruction for the mothers including lessons in nutrition, prenatal care, parenting, financial literacy, career planning, health and AIDS education, spirituality, chastity, social skills, and more. These programs represent a vital component of the overall plan to prepare each family for independent living. The constant presence of the home staff offers residents many opportunities for informal lessons on the skills needed to parent and live independently. Moreover, shared household responsibilities such as cooking, cleaning, and other chores give residents a chance to practice their new found skills.
Homeless mothers and children who stay at DayStar often have complex needs that involve multiple systems of care that are often fragmented and difficult to negotiate. Good Counsel case managers serve as advocates providing the caring glue that holds the systems together. Case managers develop an individual plan which is then monitored at weekly progress meetings. DayStar moms may have experienced great loss, difficult transitions, trauma, and maltreatment causing them to form unhealthy, insecure attachments in addition to other significant issues. To form strong and healthy attachments with their babies, our DayStar moms must experience positive relationships with caring adults. Plans are individualized and strength-based with emphasis on building personal assets and resiliency. Through intensive individual and group work, our mothers prepare to create a safe, healthy, and long-term environment for themselves and their babies.
Mothers and children are registered at appropriate nearby medical facilities and follow individual health plans overseen by physicians and monitored daily by Good Counsel staff. We improve pregnancy outcomes by helping women engage in good preventative health practices, including getting prenatal care from their healthcare providers, improving their diet, reducing their use of cigarettes, and eliminating alcohol and illegal substances. We help mothers improve their children’s health and development by helping mothers provide responsible and competent care. Trained staff meet with every resident upon admission and assist her with enrollment in an educational program (in-house and/or community based) that meets her interests, abilities, and need for employment.
Would you like to help keep the door to DayStar open? Click here for information on what you can do to donate or volunteer. Spreading the word about DayStar also helps as the more people are aware of what we offer to homeless, pregnant women who are also dual-diagnosed, the more women and babies we can help.
There’s a difference between a house and a home…
the difference is a home has a heart. Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR