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Fontebella helps homeless pregnant women have a special Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is typically a chance for women to be pampered and relax at home. But for pregnant women who are experiencing homelessness, it can be an emotional time of year.

Caritas Family Solutions’ Fontebella Maternity Home in O’Fallon, Ill., provides a caring place for women who are pregnant and experiencing homelessness. The home is designed to not only offer women a safe place to stay before and after they have their baby, but also empower them to make positive changes in their lives.

“Mother’s Day can be an emotional time for these women who are often going through really tough challenges,” said Director of Nursing and Fontebella Maternity Home Lisa Winter. “Many of them come to us broken from the trauma they’ve experienced and don’t have any family or their own mothers to lean on for help. Our goal is to help them gain the life skills and emotional strength they need to take care of themselves and their baby. We try to empower them to become the best mother they can be.”

Fontebella helps women dealing with substance abuse, addiction, poverty or violence, recover and get access to the help they need. The home also provides women a safe place to live, with food, counseling and general life skills assistance. They also provide a variety of parenting classes, employment assistance, resources for their child, and education about immunizations and doctors’ appointments.

Fontebella recently expanded its services and is now a licensed child welfare institute, which means it can provide resources to mothers that are a part of the Department of Children and Foster Care Services (DCFS). Fontebella can help any expectant mother ages 14 and up. These women are often recommended by pregnancy clinics, crisis pregnancy centers, probation officers and substance abuse facilities. Currently, Fontebella serves two DCFS mothers.

“It’s heartbreaking for us to think about a 14-year-old child who is pregnant and has nowhere to go,” said Winter. “Unfortunately, these situations do happen and we want to be able to step up and offer our resources to these young women. It’s an opportunity to change the trajectory of their lives for the better.”

To learn how to help Fontebella Maternity Home go to

Founded in 1947, Caritas Family Solutions is a nonprofit social service agency whose mission is to strengthen the social and emotional well-being of individuals and families in order to create healthy relationships, loving homes, and strong communities. Services include adoption, pregnancy care for women who are homeless, foster care, counseling, residential treatment for children healing from abuse and/or neglect, independent living for adults with developmental disabilities (CILA), and assisted living and employment assistance for low-income seniors. Caritas serves more than 5,000 individuals annually across Southern Illinois from offices located in Belleville, Carterville, Mount Vernon, Olney, East Alton, and Effingham. For additional information, visit www.caritasfamilysolutions.

PHOTO: An expectant mother holds her baby’s booties.

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