First Step Home arrives

on the Cincinnati Skyine

The first five women enter treatment at First Step Home at St. Michael's Church in Lower Price Hill.

A new group of women, most of them recovering alcoholics and addicts, is forming a third program called First Step Home... The idea is modeled after Sojourner Home and Chaney Allen Center, the area’s other residential program for women... Because recovery from chemical dependency is often more complicated for women, long-term residential programs like these are needed said First Step Home director Annie Plummer.  But the gap between need and services need is enormous... "Chemically dependent women, especially those who are poor, have had little help available, partially because their social stigma is even greater than that of male alcoholics and addicts,” said Mrs. Plummer."

First Step Toward a New Life

Camponi House

St. Michael's Church

Lower Price Hill

Annie Plummer (Bennett)

“A First Step in Battling Substance Abuse”

by Jane Prendergast

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Plummer and Heekin said that they know that starting a project with little more than $30,000 will not be easy... "Our limitations are very real right now - we know that,” Plummer said. “But you just have to get out there and take your little piece.”

From Modest Beginnings

“A First Step in Battling Substance Abuse”

by Jane Prendergast

The Cincinnati Enquirer

"A Step Toward a New Life” by Laurie Petrie

The Cincinnati Post October 27, 1992

* Sources: Ohio & Hamilton County Department of Drug &

Alcoholic Addiction Services, Alcoholism Council of the Cincinnati Area,

U.S. Department of Justice, National Center for Health Statistics.

First Step Home joins Sojourner Home in the Constant Battle to House & Treat Women Battling Addiction & Their Children

‘Within 90 days, [a woman] realizes her education level needs to increase. She knows she’s got to get out of her damaging domestic violence relationship,’ Ms. Wilkerson [Sojourner Home] said. ‘She needs to attend 90 (Alcoholics  Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous) meetings in 90 days to stay clean and sober. She’s got Children's Protective Services saying, ‘You’ve got to get a job. You’ve got to get a place to live.’ She’s trying to reunify with her children, but she’s got no parenting skills and no support in the community. And we were telling her, ‘Your time is up here. Good luck.’ It was unrealistic.’

Home for women gains momentum. First Step Home in Lower Price Hill - Hamilton County’s first general long-term care house for indigent women battling substance abuse - opened on a shoestring budget. Last week, it received its best news yet: The Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services will give the home a one-year grant of $190,000 in July. ‘It sort of legitimizes us. It says we’re here now,’ said Annie Plummer, executive director of First Step Home... There are 25 women on the waiting list.

First Step Receives Grant for Operating Expenses

Annie Plummer (left) and

Board President Mary Ann Heekin (right)

Photo by Bob Dickerson The Cincinnati Post

"We hope the women will know they can go out, take their knocks

and know that they will have someplace to come back to. We want

it to be that kind of homelike environment."

-Mary Ann Heekin

Board President

First Step Home

(also show Ernie Mioner)

"The guy pulled a knife on me. I opened my collar like this and said ‘Go ahead, kill me. I want to die.’ He said, ‘It’s never that bad,” and he gave me $20 and let me out of the car. Believe it or not, I was angry, because I really wanted him to kill me. [Bonnie, a recovering addict, recalls.] Today, I have choices. I never thought I had choices."

The Desperation of Addiction

Article by Jane Prendergast

The Cincinnati Enquirer

April 18,1993

“A First Step Toward a New Life”

by Laurie Petrie

The Cincinnati Post

Chuck Thiemann and Andrea Rogers volunteer at

First Step Home

“A First Step Toward a New Life”

by Laurie Petrie

The Cincinnati Post

*Sources: Ohio & Hamilton County Department of Drug & Alcoholic Addiction Services, Alcoholism

Council of the Cincinnati Area, U.S. Department of Justice, National Center for Health Statistics.

Blessed with Volunteers

"I used to contribute to First Step Home by donating all my kitchen utensils, bed linens, and other things around the home. My wife would take them to First Step Home in the middle of the night when the women would were in need of a random pot or appliance. I would say, "Honey, where's the blender? And she would say, 'Oh the women needed it, we'll just have to get another one.' And that was OK."

- Husband of First Step Home Volunteer

Housing Issues

"There is just no affordable housing in safe neighborhoods. When women go back to their old neighborhoods, so many triggers are there - the old friends,

the drug dealers - it’s a real relapse issue for them."

● Renovations are made at St. Michael’s, such as installing fire escapes and a sprinkler system allowing the first children to live at First Step Home while their mothers are in recovery

● First Step Home is now a $300,000 operation

● First Step Home partners with the YWCA and the

Women’s Research & Development Center to create housing and job-training for the women

Step by Slow Step

Dreams Come True

Gabriel Morman, 2, with Annie Plummer at family picnic for First Step Home, September 23, 1994

Photograph by Mark Bowen - The Cincinnati Post

“Pongo the Wonder Dog licks the face of Donald S., 8, as Jonathon W., 9, watches. The Dalmatian who interacts with

residents of First Step Home in Price Hill, came from last year’s Wish List.”

Photo by Kevin Miyazaki

- The Cincinnati Enquirer

“We’ve tried to create a home-like setting at First Step,” said Annie Plummer. “We try to create an atmosphere of what family is supposed to be. We’ve even got a dog and a cat.” At First Step, children are given consistency and structure within a nurturing environment.

A Step Toward

the Right Direction

-Annie Plummer

“Step by slow step, Dreams Come True” by Laurie Petrie

The Cincinnati Post

“Step Toward in the Right Direction”

The Kentucky Post

St. Michael’s Church

(Photographed from FSH) by Kevin J Miyazaki

The Cincinnati Enquirer

First Step Home Renovation

Photo by Tom Uhlman

The Cincinnati Post

Mary Ann Heekin - President of First Step Home (left)

Cincinnati Councilwoman Bobbie Stern (right)

Step in the Right Direction

First Step Home combined resources with Baker-Hunt Foundation in Covington to provide art lessons to children and mothers.  "Sometimes women don’t have the verbal skills or can’t put their finger on the emotion to express themselves. Drugs and alcohol anesthetize a person’s feelings. A lot of feelings that have been internalized can be released through art."

Annie Plummer

-The Kentucky Post

Tom Conlan (left), Annie Plummer and

Vince Lomabardi (right)

Ohio Dept. of Development Project Award 1995

First Step Home receives Ohio Department of

Developmental Project Award.

Ohio Department of

Development Award

Annie Plummer

-The Kentucky Post

First Step Home provides transitional housing to

graduates of their recovery program.

Transitional Housing

G.L.A.D. House Board members Pat Callison, Beatrice Lampkin, Patricia Pearl,

Maynard Holcomb, and Richard Allen

are working together to make a dream come true.

Kimberly Sullivan Staff Photo - Eastern Hills Journal

First Step Home Partners with G.L.A.D. House

Giving life a dream. That’s the spirit, the mission

the passion behind G.L.A.D. House... At G.L.A.D. House, children will voluntarily come from mothers in treatment at First Step Home or other local centers for women. After the mothers are rehabilitated, G.L.A.D. House will help with the transition so mothers can see the progress of their children and help to re-establish a healthy family. ‘This is heaven for these children. We believe in this program,’ said Anne Poehlman, G.L.A.D. House member.

"Giving Youth a G.L.A.D. Hand"

by Kimberly Sullivan

Eastern Hills Journal

October 18,1995

A Long Journey

“I was in addiction counseling myself and I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to go in”, [Mary Ann Heekin, president of First Step Home] said. “...But I started working at this 24-hour hotline for chemical dependency... And I kept seeing these women who were working to get sober, but had to go back to these abusive relationships... I knew a group of women in Columbus who put together a (women’s shelter)... and I thought ‘why not here?’

“Path to women’s shelter a long journey”

by Kimberly Sullivan

Eastern Hills Journal

A New Beginning

for Graduates

They and their children can live at Liberty Commons for 1- 3 years while pursuing educational and vocational goals.  ‘They’ve made lots of positive choices in establishing a new sober lifestyle for themselves and their families,’ said Annie Plummer, executive director. The development is in a safe neighborhood, the $200 rent is affordable, and all the residents commit to a strict drug-free policy. Moreover, group and individual counseling, GED classes, child development programs and other support services are available at Memorial Community Center, located one block from the project.

Article from the ADAS Provider - Fall 1996

From the Hamilton County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services Board

Liberty Commons

Transitional Housing

Family Therapy

We had a family therapy session once a week. which helped us look at our situation and go about it in a different way. The therapists spend time helping me get the family back together, and the activities for my children helped with my treatment.

Liberty Commons

Transitional Housing

Recovery with Their Peers

City Councilwoman and First Step Home Advisory

Board member Bobbie Sterne served as

ribbon-cutter at the dedication ceremony.

Photo from the ADAS Provider - Fall 1996

-Client, First Step Home

The ADAS Provider Spring 1996

"... Rehabilitation specialists see this new emphasis on specialized treatment as a way to provide optimum help for people with similar problems or backgrounds. Instead of treating a mixed-bag group of drug users, therapists can provide very targeted help to people whose drug habits, ages, family problems or personal challenges are similar."

“A recovery with their peers”

by Sue MacDonald

The Cincinnati Enquirer January 1996

First Step Home Camping Trip

Butler State Park October 1996

First Step Home

to Double Capacity

First Step Home prepares to open a new treatment facility named Turner Home in honor of retiring ADAS Board Member, Fran Turner.  “We have long seen the need for additional services as our waiting list often tops six months,” says Annie 

Plummer. “When a woman is

not able to access immediate treatment, she often falls through the cracks and may not seek treatment again. This expansion will help us to avoid many of these missed opportunities for intervention.”

Chuck Thiemann of Federal Home Loan Bank works with First Step Home to provide low-income housing.

Low-Income Housing

Chuck Thiemann,

President of Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati

& Annie Plummer, Executive Director of First Step Home

Photo by Dale A. Dunaway - The Post

“First Step Home to Double in 

Capacity” From the ADAS Provider -

Susan W. glows with pride and happiness at

First Step Home Graduation ceremony

Photo by Melvin Grier - The Post

"Graduation means that the women have completed intensive treatment, but most will continue with one to three more years

of individual and group counseling, said Jennifer Goodin, First Step’s administration and developmental director. ‘Although graduation is a time to celebrate, it also represents passage into a new stage of life that can be challenging...’ said Jennifer Goodin. ‘The pressures of taking care of kids, and going to school or work can trigger a relapse. Transitional housing helps ease that risk because the women live in the same building with friends who can support them in hard times when they may be tempted to use drugs again."

First Step Women

Reclaim their Lives

Winners of 1997 Golf Outing

benefiting First Step Home

Article by Laurie Petrie

- The Cincinnati Post

Fulton Avenue

Expansion Project

Architect and Board Member of First Step

Home, Ken Schon, submits ideal, client-based plans for the renovation of 2203 Fulton Ave., formerly the Pogue mansion in Walnut Hills.

First Step Home staff Jennifer Goodin,

Annie Plummer, & Lauretta Omeltschenko

2203 Fulton Ave., the old Pogue mansion to be

new residence for

First Step Home.

First Step Home Receives Grant from Cincinnati Bar Foundation

“This grant will allow us to work toward a drug-free community, both now and for future generations. This will ultimately help to decrease criminal justice involvement and will be a benefit to the entire community,” says Jennifer Goodin.

-Carol A. Stevie

Cincinnati Bar Foundation

"I'm Glad to Say We Didn't Quit"

Marjorie Rabenold, President of Board of Trustees at First Step Home shares a poem that captured some of the spirit behind First Step Home’s mission, clients, staff, and entire support network.

*Sources: Ohio & Hamilton County Department of Drug & Alcoholic Addiction Services, Alcoholism Council of the Cincinnati Area, U.S. Department of Justice, National Center for Health Statistics.

"Don't Quit"

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,

When the road you trudge seems all uphill,

When funds are low and debts are high

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,

As every one of us sometimes learns,

And many a failure turns about

When he might have won had he stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow -

You may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out -

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.

And you never can tell how close you are,

It may be near when it sees so far.

So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit -

It’s when things seem the worst you mustn't quit.

-Author Unknown 

Treatment Center Restored by

Catholic Volunteers

In just three short months, volunteers from four Catholic parishes and several Catholic high schools in greater Cincinnati

renovated a residential treatment center so women could again seek long-term help there for alcohol and drug abuse. ‘I can’t believe this is the same place. It‘s amazing!’ said Annie Bennett. This facility is on property of now-closed St. Michael’s Church in Lower Price Hill. At the unveiling ceremony, Bennett praised the volunteers as wonderful role models who lived their Christian faith through service to others. ‘You have touched so many lives she said.’

*Sources: Ohio & Hamilton County Department of Drug &

Alcoholic Addiction Services, Alcoholism Council of the Cincinnati Area, U.S. Department of Justice, National Center for Health Statistics.

First Step Home focuses on Family Programs

Article by Valerie Kincaid

- The Catholic Telegraph

Another Year,

Another Step

First Step Home begins new services aimed at helping clients become self- sufficient.

Baby of First Step Home Client

*Sources: Ohio & Hamilton County Department of Drug & Alcoholic Addiction Services, Alcoholism Council of the Cincinnati Area, U.S. Department of Justice, National Center for Health Statistics.

"As First Step Home’s first employee, I have seen it

through the good times and bad, but have never

doubted that it was always in capable hands much larger than mine. I trust that will continue to be the case."

First Step Home Bids Farewell to Executive Director Annie Bennett

Major Donor Society Created

Elizabeth Raymond played an integral part in the founding of First Step Home. Generous with both her time and money, Elizabeth helped raise the financial and volunteer support that got First Step Home started. Her generous spirit serves as an inspiration to First Step Home donors, clients, staff, and volunteers.

When she passed away, her friends and family gave generously to First Step Home in her honor. Donors who contribute $1000 per year or more to First Step Home will be eligible to belong to the Raymond Society.

-Annie Bennett

First Step Home Welcomes Margo Spence as President & CEO

Renovations begin on 2203 Fulton Ave. 

When I first came to First Step I was dysfunctional and had no control over my life or my addiction. I had no relationship with family and not really my daughter. First Step has given me a second chance

at life. They have taught me structure and how to handle life a day at a time. They have taught me how to love myself so I could love my family and especially my daughter. Jacoba and I have started building a mother-daughter relationship.

My mind is clear and I’m able to see changes in her everyday and I love to see that. I have built a relationship with my mother and sister so they are starting to trust me again... Thank you First Step for helping me get my life back and for giving me a chance and the staff for being so patient.

From a client

*Sources: Ohio & Hamilton County Department of Drug & Alcoholic Addiction Services, Alcoholism Council of the Cincinnati Area, U.S. Department of Justice, National Center for Health Statistics.

Client First Step Home

Heather C.

Clients Celebrate

Sober Motherhood 

I started using crack so bad to the point that I couldn’t even take care of my own children. I would leave them by themselves so I could go be with my so-called friends and smoke crack. I had to give them up so my children would have a good place to stay.

That still didn’t stop me from stealing from my friends and their friends. I stood on the street corner stopping

cars and turning tricks with men that I knew nothing about... just to get another fix. I went to jail for robbing one of my

friends. I knew it had gotten to the point of no return for me in my life. I had another child and had to give her to my

mother. You think after all I took my other two children through, I would stop having babies. I had another child, a boy, & kept him with me while I was still getting high.

One day I was in the bathroom about to hit the dipper, when the police came in. My son must have let them in. If it hadn’t been for him opening that door, I would still be getting high. That’s when I called First Step Home. They gave me a brand new life If it wasn’t for Ms. Angie, Mr. Terry, Ms. Gail, Ms. Margo and the rest of the staff, I would probably be dead...

From a client

Sheila T.

Client First Step Home

Client First Step Home

2215 Fulton Ave. opens as transitional housing

*Sources: Ohio & Hamilton County Department of Drug & Alcoholic Addiction Services, Alcoholism Council of the Cincinnati Area, U.S. Department of Justice, National Center for Health Statistics.

First Step Home keeps Clients Busy with Outings

Prospect House Golf Event Winners

First Step Home Client and her baby at Gorman Farms Outing

From a client

Picking Up

the Broken Pieces

I was born to an unwed mother. Back in the day, that was not the right thing to do... She kept me when I was good and

would send me away when I was bad... When I was there I was cooking and cleaning and taking care of my brothers and sisters at a very young age. That was the start of my addiction. Too much being put on me at a young age, and being sent back and fourth to different homes. I never really felt loved unless I was a good girl....I got married at 23, had children, got divorced. That’s when I met a man who taught me how to get high. That’s when I sold my soul for crack-cocaine... For the next 20 years, I got high,

slept with men I didn’t like, and stole from anybody that had something to steal.

I went to jail numerous times got high, walked the streets, got high, had my children taken away, got high, and the cycle continued. I became a career addict. I found it was easier to buy 50¢ of crack than to get a loaf of bread... I was

scared to go to bed because I had nothing to wake up for. The judge ordered me to get treatment, and I found First Step Home that would allow me to bring my two-year old baby. They taught me how to love myself, eat and sleep well, have self-control, love others, have a good attitude and be responsible . I have 41 months clean, I love life, I love waking up, and love seeing things with a clean and sober heart.

Katie W.

When I found out I was pregnant, I stopped using everything. Little did I know, my boyfriend was into other things and when I found out the repercussions were horrendous. I was three months pregnant the first time he hit me. Like addiction, the beatings became more frequent and more violent. After giving birth to my beautiful, healthy baby girl, I stopped fighting. We seemed to have found love in using drugs together.

But that didn’t stop him from hitting me when they were gone...I lost everything, even my daughter... First Step Home gave me hope and showed me a new way to live. They helped me realize that I deserved better and so does my daughter. I learned how to be passionate,
loving, patient, and a strong mother.

Colleen M.

Alumni Lunch First Step Home

One Step Closer

2221 Fulton Avenue opens as second transitional housing unit in 2008, providing ten additional beds. 

*Sources: Ohio & Hamilton County Department of Drug & Alcoholic Addiction Services, Alcoholism Council of the Cincinnati Area,U.S. Department of Justice, National Center for Health Statistics.

From a client

Before I came to First Step Home my life was totally unmanageable. I arrived here last from jail because I was addicted to heroin. I liked the house and the staff who went out of their way to help the  residents. I didn’t put much effort into my recovery. I went through the motions and made it to transitional housing. Shortly after, I relapsed and left the program.

I immediately went back to my old habits, including hanging out with my boyfriend of nine years who was also a heroin addict. I had only been gone from First Step for six days when I woke up and found my boyfriend lying on the floor. He had overdosed. I called an ambulance and performed CPR. He lived for two days on life support. By the grace of God I was arrested two days after his death. My four-year-old daughter who had lost her

father had to live with her grandma. When I was able to return to First Step Home, I was ready to get clean. I love the program and have been clean for ten months. I got my daughter back and she lives with me at First Step Home. I owe so much to this program for giving me the chance and the tools to a real life.

Children of a First Step Home client


Childcare area at 2203 Fulton Ave.

Opiate Addiction

on the Rise

In a large national study published in JAMA this spring, investigators found that the rate of opiate use by pregnant women at time of delivery increased by nearly 5fold between 2000 and 2009.  This has been linked to several adverse  outcomes for newborns, including increased risk of low birth weight, mortality, and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) - a syndrome that often includes heightened irritability, tremors, seizures, feeding intolerance, & respiratory distress.

*Sources: Ohio & Hamilton County Department of Drug & Alcoholic Addiction Services, Alcoholism Council of the Cincinnati Area, U.S. Department of Justice, National Center for Health Statistics.

*Sources: Ohio & Hamilton County Department of Drug & Alcoholic Addiction Services, Alcoholism Council of the Cincinnati Area, U.S. Department of Justice, National Center for Health Statistics.

From a client 

"... I came to First Step Home after spending 30 days in jail. Once I got to First Step my real recovery started. I began to get the help that I really needed, going to meetings, one-on-one sessions with the counselors, and group sessions helped me understand just how bad my disease really is. Without First Step Home, I wouldn’t be where I am today in my recovery. I am seventy-nine days sober and the happiest I have been in years. My son is due to be born on October 25, 2013 and I can proudly say that he will be born drug-free, which probably would not have happened without the help of First Step Home.


Trauma-Informed Treatment

Our treatment is trauma-informed. We recognize that just being a woman in the world of substance abuse brings trauma, not to mention the additional traumas that occurred before use. We are actively involved in gender-specific and trauma-informed coalitions addressing these issues. We have added groups to address gender-specific trauma topics such as intimate partner violence, exiting sex trafficking, and healthy attachment to baby. These are the issues which could trigger relapse. As a way of developing a relapse-prevention plan, we focus on all relationships in these women’s lives.

-Mary Ann O’Malloy

Clinical Director - First Step Home

First Step Home Client's children

From a client

I joined transitional living where I look forward to finding employment, independent living, and new  responsibilities. I can’t express my gratitude for everything I have been blessed with. I am twenty-four years old and look forward to living and learning every day here at First Step Home. Before this journey, I was homeless, cold, hungry, and hurt. I lived a life of chaos not knowing if I would live to see another day. I wasn’t living an honest life; it was filled with lies and denial. Now I don’t have to experience that anymore. Thank God for First Step Home.

Carriage House

Treatment Center Opens

The addition of the Carriage House Treatment Center will provide vocational assistance, housing acquisition, sober support, family building, case management, outpatient, residential treatment groups, and mental health services to one hundred women annually, and its opening is a justifiable source of pride and an outstanding reflection on the center and all those associated with its development. 

Carriage House behind 2203 Fulton Ave. 


Angie Coleman and First Step Home Alumni at 2010 Reunion.

First Step Home Client and her children

Development of the Maternal Addiction Program

In response to the growing opiate epidemic, First Step Home partners with Good Samaritan Hospital, Crossroad Health Medical Home, Healthy Moms & Babes, Center for Chemical Addictions Treatment, Dressed for Success, and G.L.A.D. House to create the Maternal Addiction Center, A place for hope... A place for help... A place for healing. “We know that no woman wants to do anything that would put her baby at risk. We understand that addiction is a disease that can impact the decisions that she would not make if she wasn’t physically and mentally addicted and had the resources to meet her needs,” says Jeane Cole of the Maternal Addiction Center.

Terry Schoenling

Vice President - First Step Home

"The Maternal Addiction Program has launched and is delivering outstanding services to our pregnant and postpartum clients. Women are assisted in getting pregnancy needs met as well as receiving treatment tailored to their unique needs as pregnant, addicted women. We have close collaborative relationships with local hospitals, doctors, and other agency providers. Our ultimate goal is to assist women in stabilizing, parenting, and having healthy babies! With this program, we hope to have babies born healthier, and returning home to moms faster so healthy attachment can occur. Soon we will have specialized rooms for the Maternal Addiction Program that will help facilitate hope and healing."

Specialized Treatment

Mike Zimmer visits First Step Home

Mark Schoeny and Ken Schon at First Step Home's 2011 Golf Outing 

First Step Home Celebrates its 20th Anniversary!

The 2013 Rose Award Gala was a great success as we honored the “Founding Mothers” and the Ed and Joann Hubert Foundation for their work assisting the women we serve daily. The event was sold out and then some with dignitaries from both the county and city in attendance. It also marked the 20th anniversary of the founding of First Step Home back in 1993. Since that date, over 3,200 women and 2,600 children have been a part of our treatment services.

*Sources: Ohio & Hamilton County Department of Drug & Alcoholic Addiction Services, Alcoholism Council of the Cincinnati Area, U.S. Department of Justice, National Center for Health Statistics.

Margo Spence at First Step Home's 2013 Rose Award Gala 20th Anniversary Celebration

Annie Bennett speaks at the 2013 Rose Award Gala as we honor the Founding Mothers of First Step Home

Targeted Therapy

First Step Home continues to seek new methods that will increase our effectiveness in treatment. We have begun the process of providing “targeted” therapy for each client based on their unique needs and life status. We will continue to expand our Maternal Program under the MOMS grant from the state and prepare for the intensive growth in the need for addiction services for opiate addicted women. We will continue to seek out new housing opportunities for our women and increase our vocational efforts over the next three years so that the women successfully completing care can find employment and safe housing. We will continue to pursue our mission of assisting women to recovery and their return to society as productive women.

Margo Spence

President & CEO - First Step Home

Maternal Addiction Program

  • Women who used our Medicated-Assisted Treatment protocol had babies with an average stay of 3.7 days in NICU vs. 18.6 days for babies of mothers treated with methadone.

  • In 2013, 97% of babies born to Maternal Addiction Program participants had proper birth weights vs. 63% in 2010 before the start of the Maternal Addiction Program.

  • The average length of stay in recovery treatment for women in the Maternal Addiction Program is 74 days compared to 46 days for women who did not participate in the Maternal Addiction Program.

  • Relapse rate for the women who participate in the Maternal Addiction Program

First Step Home Graduation

Valentine's Day Celebration at First Step Home

First Step Home Expands Housing Opportunities

First Step Home continues to make headway in our mission of providing quality housing opportunities for the women we serve. In the last year we have purchased three new properties located at 2215 Fulton, 928 Windsor, 2207 Fulton and 2300 St. James. These locations will expand our daily housing capacity to over sixty beds for recovery residences. The recovery residences will include space for our new sober housing program that will give women with children a safe place to live and grow in sobriety. In addition, we open our new administrative and therapeutic center at 2211 Fulton. The new site will have two new therapy rooms, an intake center and our administrative space. The final addition will be the new Maternal Addiction Center that will be housed at 2203 Fulton on the third floor. Since 2005 we have added fifty-three beds, eight new buildings, four new treatment spaces and an intake center to our campus. All of this has happened due to our great sponsors and donors who live our mission daily. We couldn’t have done this without them!

Maternal Addiction Program Selected for State Funding

The Maternal Addictions Center was one of four agencies selected to receive funding from the state as part of the M.O.M.S. initiative developed by Governor Kasich and the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addictions Services. The agencies selected will serve as pilots for a state wide effort to provide intensive care to pregnant, opiate addicted women. The grant will allow First Step Home to expand Case Management services, add a Medical Director, create a Vocational Counselor position as a means of increasing employment opportunities and add a new pediatric behavioral health component to assist children at ages two and three control aggressive behaviors as a result of maternal addictions. The grant will run through March of 2016. The Maternal Addiction Program was started in 2012 after a year of planning was undertaken by community partners. Good Samaritan Hospital’s HOPE Program, CCAT, Dress for Success, GLAD House, Crossroads Health Center and Healthy Moms and Babes all provide supportive services in an holistic fashion to the women in the program. Over 200 women have participated in the Maternal Program since its inception. These women have delivered over 160 healthy babies.

Terry Schoenling

Vice President - First Step Home

2211 Fulton Ave.

Rose Award Gala

The 2015 Rose Award Gala was another great success for First Step Home. As we have this year, the excellent work of the Gala Committee and generosity of donors is astonishing to behold. The award winners included three members of the community who have been dedicated to the fight for women’s sobriety. Morleen “Moe” Rouse was honored as a friend of First Step Home through her charity boutique, Mannequin. The St. James Father’s Ministry

was honored for their work to feed the hungry and provide toys and clothing to the women and their children. Huntington National Bank was honored for their commitment to educating women in recovery on core financial services. The event supports the Maternal Addiction Program’s efforts to provide education and treatment to opiate-addicted, pregnant women with the goal of delivering healthy and drug-free babies.

Honorees from St. James Church at First Step Home's Rose Award Gala

Moe Rause, Margo Spence and  Liz Bonis at First Step Home's Rose Award Gala

Margo Spence & Jeffrey Hendricks at First Step Home Graduation

Maternal Addiction Program Selected for State Funding

First Step Home is truly a place for help, a place for hope and a place for healing. We offer the highest standard of care for our clients. Our staff are licensed and credentialed at the top levels. Each attends cutting-edge training on the most current evidence-based practices. We offer hope through peer modeling for our clients, showing them that they, too, can achieve recovery. We create an environment of healing, focusing on individualized treatment that encompasses treating each clients’ trauma. This fall we launched a ‘stand alone’ Outpatient Program to meet the needs of clients who live at home and may already have employment, but need our support through less intensive treatment. This allows us to treat even more women who would not be able to access care without further destabilizing themselves. We continue to identify issues that could influence our clients’ recovery, from eating disorders and distorted body image to bullying. Each client presents with a complex picture and we at First Step Home respond to those individual pressures. We want to assure our clients the best possible outcomes for their treatment, in order for them to return to society as productive members of the community.

Mary Ann O'Malloy

Clinical Director - First Step Home

Most Successful Rose Award Gala to Date

Our most successful Gala ever was held on May 14, 2016 at the historic Cincinnati Woman’s Club. Sponsors, donors, friends, and supporters came together to celebrate. Funds raised were designated for the renovation of the Terry Schoenling Home for Mothers and Infants and for the 2160 Fulton Avenue apartment rehabilitation. The Rose Award Gala dinner program was hosted by WKRC-TV Local 12 Weekend Anchor, Liz Bonis. Leslie Hawkins, a First Step Home graduate was the featured speaker. Former Cincinnati Bengal player, Jim Breech, led the ‘balloon auction’ and did a wonderful job of encouraging everyone to participate.


  • Bloomfield/Schon - Corporate Achievement

  • Mark Schoeny - Individual Achievement

  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority - Community Achievement

  • Terry Schoenling - Posthumous Lifetime Achievement


Our thanks to all who made it such a success!

First Step Home clients celebrate Halloween

Terry Schoenling

former Vice President - First Step Home

The Terry Schoenling Home for Mothers and Infants is designed with eight bedrooms, common kitchen facilities and living areas to encourage community

activity. This new facility allows recovering mothers to adjust to their new lives in a sober, safe environment

while bonding with their newborn babies.

Terry Schoenling Home for Mothers and Infants

This year we have focused on opening the Terry Schoenling Home for Mothers and Infants building and program. We give special thanks to Bethesda Inc., whose grant supports planning work for the Terry Schoenling Home for Mothers and Infants Program. The Schoenling Home is a safe, quiet, well-equipped place for mom to heal and care for herself and her newborn. In this setting she will have the care and support to learn and provide a healthy, nurturing beginning of life for her baby. Mothers in this program will have access to resources from a variety of professional caregivers including: Good Samaritan Hospital, Visiting Nurse Association and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, who will provide newborn services. After her baby is born, mom and baby will attend a program of postpartum services, including a wide range of topics to provide education, hands-on baby care and physical and emotional support. Terry’s Home will help provide new moms with a safe and caring environment while continuing their addiction treatment.

We held our annual Rose Gala Award Dinner on April 22, 2017, where we garnered over $50,000 in net proceeds – with thanks to Gala Committee and all our donors and friends. This year’s award winners were Jim and Denise Breech for Family Contribution, Church of the Brethren for Community Contribution and Gilkey Window Company for Corporate Contribution.

Rose Award Gala

Honorees at the Rose Award Gala, Gilkey Window Company, Inc.

Rose Award Gala Committee (from left)

Cathy Cooke, Natasha Busam, Brittany Kilgour, Sara Breiel, Rachel Lyon, Annie Bennett, Verna Tuttle, Mary Schwaderer, Margo Spence and Mauren Heekin

2203 Fulton Ave.

Cincinnati, OH 45206

Tel: (513) 961-4663

Fax: 513-961-4681


Designed by Mary Jones