12 News Features Jacob’s Hope

PHOENIX — When you walk into Jacob’s Hope, you instantly feel calm, relaxed, and at peace. The staff there say it’s vital they create a soothing atmosphere for the babies they’re helping.

“We need this in Arizona,” said Jo Jones. “We need these babies to have a place and their families to have a place to learn the techniques and proper things to do because this wasn’t done 35 years ago.”

Jones is the founder of Jacob’s Hope, a non-profit that specializes in substance-exposed newborns. The facility offers 24-hour care to help the newborns during the withdrawal process.

“We can make a difference in the baby’s life, we can make a difference in the mother’s life,” said Jones. “There are definitely not enough places here like this. When I opened Jacob’s Hope, we were 4th in the nation. Now there are two in Arizona and nine nationwide. They should be in every state and there should be multiple.”

The organization is near and dear to Jones who launched Jacob’s Hope in honor of her son, Jacob.

“Jacob had an amazing life, he was an amazing son, he was brilliant, charismatic, good looking,” Jones remembers. “My husband and I adopted Jacob when he was three days old in 1988. In ’88 we didn’t know what drug exposure looked like and his biological mom had used crystal meth throughout her pregnancy.”

Jacob unexpectedly passed in 2014 and Jones turned her pain into something positive and opened Jacob’s Hope in 2016.

“I think he’d be excited about that,” she said. “He had an amazing heart and he would love to see people being helped in his memory.”

Jacob’s Hope is committed to helping newborns who were exposed to illicit substances in the womb. The focus is on the child, but staff will also give the mother or caregiver the resources needed to help get healthy. The facility is licensed to help 12 infants at a time, but they usually accept six max so they can give proper care and attention to each one.

“It can be tricky,” said Associate Director, Lyndsey Steele. “They experience tremors, they’re stiff and rigid and they have tummy issues. They’re difficult to console and have a high-pitched scream that if not prepared for can be alarming.”

Steele says it can be challenging to watch sometimes, but that staff and volunteers use special care techniques that are vital in the baby’s recovery. One technique is called ‘eat, sleep, console’ and is something they say works.

“We want to get them through that withdrawal process as much as possible and give the caregiver those techniques so when they get home they can continue that,” Steele said.

Since Jacob’s Hope is a nonprofit, volunteers are crucial in keeping the organization running. both Steele and Jones say they are always looking for volunteers to do anything from cuddling and rocking babies to organizing the nurseries. They also rely on donations from the community. It can be as simple as bottled water (for the copious amounts of formula they use) to something more specific on their Amazon Wish List.

“We’re a small nonprofit,” Steele said. “It’s tough work, the babies can be challenging, and the family dynamics can be challenging. The staff though are here because they love the work, and they love the babies. We can tell these families it’s going to be okay and that there are people who care.”

“We are a complete non-judgmental zone,” Jones said. “All of our nurses, everybody who works here, has a heart for this and we would never judge a mom. We all pitch in and take care of these babies. We have volunteers who rock the babies, and they love that. I just want to help and I want to make sure families don’t go through what we went through and that babies don’t go through what Jacob went through.”


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