A Calgary pre- and postnatal service that caters to women in need is set to expand to meet a growing demand.
The CUPS Early Years Child Development Centre helps pregnant women who don't have a family doctor and are living below the poverty line.
Some of the women who come to the clinic are also homeless, have addictions or have mental health problems, said coordinator and nurse practitioner Gwen Moncayo.
Demand is so high that CUPS — Calgary Urban Project Society — has committed to doubling the number of women it helps this year alone.
It’s money well-spent, said Moncayo.
"We're saving the healthcare system a lot of money by working on a risk reduction. So if we have a person that's still drinking alcohol and prenatally exposed to alcohol, the cost of that person over their lifetime is $2 million between social services, justice and everything," she said.
"So if we can get them to stop drinking early-on in their pregnancy, the risk of that disability goes down."
Patients at CUPS get everything from basic prenatal care and addictions counselling to help with housing and parenting skills.
Last year CUPS moved into a new building at 1001 10 Ave S.W. that is three times larger than the old location on Seventh Avenue.
CUPS was founded in 1989 when several downtown churches came together to fight poverty. The non-profit group now provides coordinated healthcare, education and housing services.