Support and advocacy for pregnant women who are struggling with
alcohol and/or substance use

A free and confidential service

Mission Statement

In a supportive, respectful, cultural sensitive and collaborative environment, First Steps will help mothers build and maintain safe, healthy, independent family lives for themselves and their family. In addition, First Steps is simultaneously committed to reducing the number of children exposed to drugs and alcohol.

Vision Statement

Children and families will live in safe, healthy and nurturing homes.

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Is First Steps for you?

Call to find out more about the program if you or someone you know can answer yes to all four of the following.


  • am pregnant or up to 12 months postpartum;
  • have used alcohol and/or other substances during my pregnancy;
  • lack connections to other community services; and
  • wish to make changes in my life.

The First Steps program helps:

  • mothers build and maintain healthy, independent family lives;
  • assure that children are in safe and stable homes; and
  • prevent future births of alcohol and drug exposed children.

The First Steps Approach:

Trained and supervised advocates provide home visitation and intervention to mothers and their families for 3 years. Advocates assist mothers in:

  • Setting goals and identifying steps to achieve them
  • Obtaining alcohol/drug treatment
  • Staying in recovery
  • Choosing a family planning method
  • Accessing child health care and immunizations
  • Connecting with community services
  • Transporting to important appointments
  • Sorting out housing and child custody problems
  • Addressing domestic violence
  • Resolving system service barriers

We recognize that change is difficult:

Therefore, mothers are not asked to leave the program if they relapse or experience setbacks.
Instead, advocates will stay with mothers for three years to provide extensive practical assistance and the long-term emotional support that is so important to women who are making fundamental changes in their lives.
First Steps is based on an initiative of the Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit at the University of Washington.

Participant comments:

"Thank you for all the help that your program has given me and my family, the program is truly amazing and my family is blessed to be a part of it".

"The strength of the program are the advocate's encouragment in keeping me motivated and on top of my goals".

Community Service Provider Comment:

"This program removes barriers to accessing other programs including transporting and emotional suppport. The participants have nothing but positive feedback about their experience. It helps women to know they are not alone - someone is always there - nonjudging".

To make a referral or for additional information, please contact:

Regional Programs Manager
477 3rd St SE
Medicine Hat AB
Phone: 403-526-7473

The First Steps program is funded by:





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