BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge dedicated its newly expanded and renovated building for homeless pregnant women Tuesday morning.
The Sanctuary for Life, which is the first program of its kind in Louisiana, is a home that offers a safe haven for women and their newborn babies.
David C. Aguillard said since the program was first established in 2009, it has offered a safe haven for over 250 women and unborn children.
"That is helping many women in our community who have no place else to go and are in need of a refuge and in need of some counseling, some guidance, transportation, and resources that this community can provide for them," said Stephanie Sterling.
The program helps mothers prepare to become the best parent they can be and offers job training, education, and transportation to prenatal care. Ninety percent of program graduates have left with a household established and a solid parenting plan. With the new addition of St. Patrick's house on the property, some mothers will have a home where they can care for their newborn infants for up to six months if they need more support after birth.
The ministry, which is operated by the Maternity and Adoption Services of Catholic Charities, has doubled their capacity. They now have the ability to serve up to 15 women and seven infants.
"Women in the program gain access to transportation, medical care, education, and employment opportunities. Clients who complete the program and have their babies have the opportunity to move into a Sanctuary for Life apartment where they can live in a supportive environment," Aguillard said.
Funding for the renovation was provided by the Diocese of Baton Rouge through the Bishop's Annual Appeal, and also from donations from WHLC Architecture, Deumite Construction, The Ladies of the Cathedral, St. Patrick Catholic Church, Laville Cabinets, Olinde's Furniture, and LWCC, among other private donors.
For more information about the program visit Catholic Charities's website or call (225) 336-8700.