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KVC Kentucky

Introducing KVC’s EMBARK Program for Mothers in Recovery

It’s a heartbreaking reality: Support often comes too late for parents who need help. Here at KVC Kentucky, we know how intentional, proactive support can make a big difference in both empowering parents and keeping families together. That’s why we’re grateful to open the doors to our EMBARK program. This new service offers innovative support to expectant mothers who are in recovery. Get to know the EMBARK program and how its preventative model can make a difference in our state.

What is the EMBARK Program? 

EMBARK stands for Elevate Mothers and Build Addiction Recovery in Kentucky. This prevention program builds on our heritage at KVC Kentucky of offering innovative, impactful solutions to care through mental health services, substance use treatment and family preservation and reunification

EMBARK Program, Megan Moore Headshot

Megan Moore, DSW, CSW Senior Director of Innovation and Impact

“Our goal has always been to innovate, but also to move more toward prevention,” explains Megan Moore, Senior Director of Innovation and Impact with KVC Kentucky. To that end, the mission of the EMBARK program is to provide an integrated and coordinated care approach to pregnant mothers with substance use challenges and their families to promote healthy, safe and thriving families. 

As a recent recipient of funding from the Kentucky Attorney General’s office as part of the opioid abatement settlement, EMBARK aims to meet expecting mothers during a time of crisis and help provide access to resources and support that can change the course of their future and that of their family. It’s all about prevention, helping at-risk families to live healthier lives and avoid the child welfare system altogether.


Over the past decade, Kentucky has seen a rise in the rate of substance use among residents across the state. It has reached the point of being labeled a crisis — an opioid crisis, specifically. Not only has this affected the health and safety of established families, but it is also affecting pregnant mothers.EMBARK Program, woman receiving ultrasound

As of a 2021 report, approximately 1 in 15 women in Kentucky used opioids during pregnancy and Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) was present in about 19 out of 1000 births. Other substances such as alcohol, cigarettes and marijuana are also commonly used throughout pregnancy and can cause serious complications in mothers and babies. 

Pregnant mothers with substance use challenges have a higher chance of receiving fragmented care due to the stigma they face. Pregnancy and recovery are two of life’s most challenging journeys. And to face them together can bring feelings of shame. These feelings can prevent expecting mothers from reaching out for desperately needed care. 

“These mothers often don’t seek the care they need because they are afraid of being met with barriers to treatment,” Moore explains.

To alter the way these mothers approach necessary care, KVC will be providing a coordinated team approach in partnership with Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation. This is a federally qualified health clinic in eastern Kentucky that provides much-needed services to pregnant mothers. KVC is excited to expand upon those services. 

Through the EMBARK program, coordinated care professionals will work with these mothers to provide a wrap-around service approach. This approach will ensure they receive high-quality care with access to obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, primary care, substance use treatment and necessary medical and other assistance. All are provided in the spirit of preventative care that can help break the child welfare cycle and provide families with resources to get ahead. 

The EMBARK Experience

EMBARK Program, woman cradling baby

The program is designed to serve both pregnant mothers and their babies, but what does EMBARK look like practically? It’s created to be a wraparound experience, Moore explains. “This is a holistic form of care that covers support both in home and otherwise,” she says, “including housing, financial resources, parenting needs with evidence-based positive parenting strategies, safety practices like baby-proofing and connecting to resources in the community.” 

Who is eligible for EMBARK? Mothers currently undergoing therapy, substance use treatment or medically-assisted care with Mountain Comprehensive Health Clinic will be referred to the EMBARK program with KVC. After the referral, a dedicated KVC coordinator will meet with the mothers and conduct a needs assessment. Then they’ll determine which programs, services and resources will be most valuable for the mother. From there, mothers will receive professional care from service providers and connect with community resources on a regular basis. This will help clients establish a solid foundation. 

What Makes EMBARK Unique?

While a number of services exist to serve Kentucky families in crisis, EMBARK is unique because of its focus on prevention and intentional intervention. The EMBARK approach goes beyond the traditional method of assisting families after welfare involvement. It goes above and beyond in terms of preventative care. The EMBARK program sets itself apart from others by providing:

  • A wrap-around service model
  • Services delivered by professionals right in the community
  • A program focused on reducing stigma
  • Tangible goods assistance 
  • Services to prevent mothers and families from entering the child welfare system 

Perhaps the biggest difference between EMBARK and other programs is the focus on providing care to mothers sooner, in an effort to prevent parents and children from entering the welfare system in the first place. With the holistic approach, mothers can receive support in many different areas of their lives without the fear of facing stigmas. EMBARK is a safe and encouraging way for mothers to seek treatment and prevent the need for welfare. 

Taylor Breeding Headshot

Taylor Breeding, LCSW, MSW Senior Director of Clinical Practice and Advancement

While those receiving support are mothers and babies, EMBARK endeavors to have a ripple effect across families and communities. “This is an opportunity not only to help mother and baby but to also provide the potential to help other children in the home, as more families will be able to remain safely together,” says Taylor Breeding, Director of Clinical Services and Programming with KVC Kentucky.

This innovative program is set to launch in the first quarter of 2024. KVC is excited about the future outlook of child welfare. Pregnant women with an interest in the EMBARK program can find more information through their local KVC or Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation. 


25 Years of Compassion in Action