ADMS Block Grant

Women's Set-Aside Does Not Assure Drug Treatment for Pregnant Women Gao ID: HRD-91-80 May 6, 1991

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the availability of drug abuse treatment for women, particularly pregnant women, focusing on: (1) the barriers pregnant women and mothers faced when seeking treatment; (2) whether Congress had the information it needed to oversee state use of the women's set-aside to meet women's treatment needs; (3) whether the states used the women's set-aside to provide for the specific treatment of drug-abusing women, pregnant women, and mothers with young children; and (4) available drug treatment for such women in seven states.

GAO found that: (1) despite recent national attention regarding maternal drug use effects on infants and dependent children, many pregnant women and women with children did not receive adequate drug treatment services; (2) many of those women needed such services as prenatal care, child care, and parenting skills training in conjunction with drug treatment; (3) the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Services (ADMS) women's set-aside increased almost 500 percent between fiscal years 1988 and 1990; (4) despite that increase, Congress lacked adequate information to determine whether the set-aside effectively reduced treatment barriers and addressed such treatment needs, since the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) did not clearly specify reporting requirements to states; (5) the women's set-aside did not ensure that states provided appropriate treatment services to women, since the set-aside encouraged, but did not require, states to fund specifically designed treatment; and (6) of the seven states, two did not use the women's set-aside funds to provide for women's specific treatment needs.


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