Expanding to help those in need

April 24, 2024

Volunteers of America Mid-States (VOA) broke ground on the expansion of their nationally recognized recovery program for pregnant and parenting women in Clay County, Kentucky. For more than four years, VOA’s Freedom House has helped Southeast Kentucky women overcome substance use disorder without leaving their children behind.

Freedom House is a unique program that allows mothers to bring their children with them during treatment. Using an evidenced-based clinical services model of recovery, Freedom House addresses the cycle of addiction. Through individual, group and family therapy, the program helps mothers build long-lasting foundations for a substance-free life for themselves and their children.

A year ago, VOA announced plans to expand their current program location in Clay County, Kentucky to accommodate 300 women and their children annually. On Friday, April 19 at 10:00 a.m. ET, VOA Mid-States President and CEO Jennifer Hancock joined Senate President Robert Stivers, VOA board member and EKU Manchester Senior Director, Regional Programming and Stewardship Terry Gray and community leader Deann Allen at their location at 8467 North Hwy 421 in Manchester, Kentucky to break ground on the Freedom House expansion.

“We are thrilled to break ground and expand this life-changing service in Clay County. Since VOA launched Freedom House in the region more than four years ago, we’ve helped over 470 women find recovery and create hopeful futures for their families. We are excited to expand our efforts and continue to work with this incredible community to help more women struggling with substance use disorder,” said VOA Mid-States President and CEO Jennifer Hancock.

The program works to reunite families separated due to substance use disorder and deliver healthy babies. In 2023, 90 percent of women in the program had increased visitations with their children and 23 babies were born to Freedom House mothers who were healthy and drug-free.

“Today marks a monumental step forward in our collective efforts to combat substance use disorder and rebuild lives. With this multimillion-dollar expansion, I am proud to be a part of what strengthens the foundation of Volunteers of America and what Freedom House provides. This place means tangible hope for individuals battling addiction, especially pregnant women or women with young children,” said Senate President Robert Stivers. “This expansion provides crucial treatment services and dovetails into empowering our workforce by creating new employment opportunities.”

With support from Senate President Robert Stivers, Terry Gray, Deann Allen and the Clay County community, VOA plans to complete construction on the expansion in the spring of 2025.

“VOA has provided expertise, compassion and commitment to bring about the changes you’re seeing today. Families are being reunited and lives are being changed every day. It’s important to know that when an individual becomes associated with VOA, VOA is with them regardless of circumstances. It doesn’t matter if you’re in addiction, recovery, homeless, a veteran, someone with disabilities or just a friend, VOA takes their mission of standing with you to heart. I like to say VOA is like that friend you can call at 3 o’clock in the morning and they’ll answer the phone,” said Manchester community leader and VOA supporter, Deann Allen.

Community members who attended the groundbreaking heard a testimonial from Clay County Freedom House graduate and Recovery Support Technician, Kelsey Couch.

“VOA and Freedom House believed in me when no one else would. They didn’t judge me, they supported me when no one else would. I feel like I’m still growing, but I’ve learned so much and I’m becoming the person and mother I’ve always set out to be,” said Couch.

In September of 2023, VOA kicked off its Freedom House Capital Campaign to raise essential funds to further aid their expansion efforts. To learn more about the campaign and how you can support the program in Clay County, contact VOA Mid-States Senior Director of Fund Development Dave Bell at DaveB@voamid.org.