In the 1980s, America was in the throes of a cocaine epidemic. It's tiniest victims, often premature and medically fragile newborns, flooded neo-natal intensive care units and overwhelmed a foster care system ill-prepared to deal with such needy infants.
During this time, Barbara Drennen specialized in the care of premature newborns in her home in Kent, Washington. She and Barbara Richards, another caregiver for special needs children in Kent, collaborated on therapeutic techniques for safeguarding drug-exposed infants through the difficult and dangerous period of withdrawal. Hospitals began asking Drennen and Richards to design a center formalizing the kind of care they were providing in-home. In response, Drennen and Richards (“The Two Barbs”), founded Pediatric Interim Care Center in Kent.
PICC (pronounced “pick”) was the first, and is still the only, full time newborn nursery bringing drug-addicted infants through withdrawal. Since Barbara Richards' retirement in 2000, Barbara Drennen continues to lead PICC as executive director. Over the years, she has helped more than 2,500 drug-exposed newborns through their difficult first weeks. She has trained hundreds of caregivers, medical personnel and others in the recognition and therapeutic handling of drug-exposed infants. And she has become a leading voice of advocacy for the littlest victims of drug abuse.
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