Frequently Asked Questions
- Why did Barbara Harris start this organization?
- Some say that these people are not capable of deciding on long-term birth control?
- Are you targeting minorities?
- Why aren't you spending your money on drug treatment?
- Are you saying that "all drug-exposed children are permanently damaged or likely to die?"
- What are you doing for the addicts? Do you even care what happens to them?
Why did Barbara Harris start this organization?
In short, because she saw the problem she was facing up close and personal, in the eyes of her children. Mrs. Harris personally adopted four children out of eight to one Los Angeles addict. After spending countless hours watching her children fight through withdrawal, among other things, she decided that something had to be done.
This led Mrs. Harris to the California legislature attempting to pass a bill that would have made it mandatory that after giving birth to a drug addicted baby the birth mother use long-term birth control. When Assembly Bill 2614 died on the floor of the California legislature Mrs. Harris was left with two choices: 1) Do Nothing, and 2) Do Something!
For her, doing nothing was not an option after her own firsthand experience raising four substance-exposed children. Thus, Project Prevention was born.
Some say that these people are not capable of deciding on long-term birth control?
If you can not trust someone with their reproductive choices, how can you trust them with a child? The decision to use long term birth control in some cases is the first responsible decision these addicts have made in their addiction which may lead to more good decisions.
Are you targeting minorities?
It is racist, or at least ignorant, for someone to learn about Project Prevention and assume that only minorities will be calling us. The reality is, not all drug addicts are minorities. Project Prevention targets a behavior not a racial demographic.We believe that all women/children matter regardless of skin color. Why would we not encourage minorities to make a responsible decision to use birth control as well?
Why aren't you spending your money on drug treatment?
In 1997, the United States spent $11.4 billion dollars on alcohol and drug related treatment services (SAMHSA). While this is not nearly enough to assist every addict in need, it is a problem that is at least addressed, to the tune of billions of dollars.
Project Prevention offers drug treatment referrals to all women that enter our program. Further, we have gone to great lengths to assist some individuals into treatment, or to locate a treatment program for them.
However, our main goal is to ensure that addicts and alcoholics are using long term birth control until they are able to care for the children they conceive.
Are you saying that "all drug-exposed children are permanently damaged or likely to die?"
Many drug exposed infants will not have long lasting problems from their prenatal exposure to drugs, but the problems that come with being in foster care are just as damaging if not more so. Read study on Home page..
Barbara Harris has living proof in the daily lives of her four adopted children suffer the effects of their mother's addiction. She does, however, acknowledge the emotional and psychological issues that they do have.
These children were fortunate to get into a loving and stable home at birth. Regrettably, not all children receive that chance. Many of these children will go into an overcrowded foster care system.
As of 2009, there were 550,000 children in the foster care system. Each year in California, 5,000 youth "age out" of foster care when they turn 18. The California Department of Social Services found that 65% of these foster youths face imminent homelessness.
Roughly 50% of foster youth do not complete high school.
Lastly, over 50% of foster youth become juvenile delinquents, and furthermore, commit violent crimes as adults (California Department of Social Services Research Development). In short, the damage caused by addicts giving birth to children who end up in foster care is seen on many levels. Project Prevention feels that if $300 is all it takes to prevent this tragedy, that it's the best
$300 that can possibly be spent?
What are you doing for the addicts? Do you even care what happens to them?
Barbara Harris writes on a continual basis with countless Project Prevention clients. She frequently sends cards of encouragement applauding their efforts to get or stay clean. Project Prevention has referred hundreds of clients to drug treatment programs nationwide.
What many people fail to consider are the negative effects on a woman's self-esteem of continually having children that are taken away. That only leads to the women feeling worse about themselves, and often times, leads them deeper into their addiction.
For a glimpse into how these women feel, here are a few remarks from Project Prevention clients:
Thank you for helping me to do the first responsible thing I've ever done in my addiction. Patricia, Nashville.
I am sorry to inform you that I relapsed shortly after I graduated on May 1st. I'm back in treatment and doing very well. I apologize for not keeping in touch for I feel as though we've known one another in a different space and time. You are truly an inspiration to me, and I feel that your love knows no boundaries. Sandra, Los Angeles
Thank you for the wonderful encouraging cards, they made me smile. I am still dedicated to promoting Project Prevention to the women in my program because I know from personal experience, after six relapses and five children in foster care, how important birth control is. Penny, New York