CULLMAN – Eileen Dover, founder and president of the non-profit The King’s Cradle (TKC), started the organization after working at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and seeing newborn babies and infants go through withdrawal because their mothers abused drugs while pregnant.
“That’s when I learned of the need for this sort of practice,” Dover said. “And that was a long, long time ago. Twenty years.”
In their own words, TKC reaches out to pregnant substance-abusing mothers before and after birth, provides education to parents, caregivers, health care professionals and the community and participates in research to understand the effects of prenatal substance exposure on the newborn, families, caregivers and the community.
Dover started the TKC in and around the Baileyton area, and it is now based in Cullman and Arab.
“We had our own building and everything,” Dover said, “but then the storms of 2011 came through, and that, coupled with all of last year me being sick, have [sic] put us off track.”
TKC’s current goal is to open a residential facility offering professional medical care to infants going through withdrawal.
Dover also wants TKC to offer education on the consequences of drug use, issues about which the mothers of these infants are mostly unaware.
According to Dover, there is only one other place in the United States currently doing what she hopes to do for Cullman.
It’s called the Pediatric Interim Care Center and is located in Kent, Washington.
As far as assistance, TKC welcomes donations year-round. The organization’s ongoing fundraiser is the Baby Bottle Blast, a fun way to collect funds.
Simply buy a baby bottle, fill it with loose change and turn it in. TKC also raises funds by doing DNA testing.
TKC is also looking for board members and volunteers.
“We’re looking for people who are professionals, really,” Dover said. “People who have experience. But also people who are not afraid of commitment, because this really will be a big commitment for anyone.”
For more information about TKC or to inquire about turning in change-filled baby bottles and other donations or volunteer opportunities, call 888-722-2426 or message them through their Facebook page at facebook.com/The-Kings-Cradle-142586642462674.