Kathryn Icenhower's SHIELDS for Families Offering Holistic, Comprehensive Drug Treatment for Women

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Believing, Building, and Becoming Kathryn Icenhower Is a SHIELD of Strength / Kathryn Icenhower's SHIELDS for Families Nears 20 Years Offering Holistic, Comprehensive Drug Treatment for Women

In the late 1980s, South Los Angeles was on its death bed. Crack was destroying the lives of thousands of men and women across the city, and the number of drug-exposed newborn babies was on the rise. Desperate, with nowhere to turn, low-income, substance-abusing women were often separated from their children, and had little hope for the future until Dr. Kathryn Icenhower, co-founder and Executive Director for SHIELDS for Families, decided to take a stand.

Born a farmer's daughter, and raised on a subsistence farm in Southeastern Ohio, Dr. Icenhower has risen above her own humble beginnings to national prominence as a family and community advocate who continues to inspire others around the world. As a woman committed to other women, Dr. Icenhower has worked in the trenches to combat the devastating effects of the crack epidemic since the early 1990s. She co-founded SHIELDS for Families in 1991, in South Central Los Angeles, with the assistance of Dr. Xylina Bean and Norma Mtume in an effort to improve the quality of life for women and children affected by drug addiction and poverty.

Since its inception, SHIELDS for Families has grown into a leading, award-winning, non-profit organization that provides comprehensive, wraparound, "one-stop-shop" treatment programs for women and their families dealing with substance abuse. Currently embarking on its 20th anniversary, SHIELDS has been featured in popular publications and television programs including the Los Angeles Times, Parade Magazine and Vh1's Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.

As a full-service organization, SHIELDS provides 30 life-enriching programs to more than 5,000 families annually, and has drastically reduced the number of children removed from homes, the length of time spent in out-of-home care, the number of infants born drug-exposed, and improved the outcomes of thousands of families in South Los Angeles. Under Dr. Icenhower's guidance and expertise, SHIELDS has saved Los Angeles County more than $60 million annually, and continues to have a positive impact on the families and communities in which it serves.

As the driving force behind SHIELDS' success, Kathryn has established an unshakeable legacy for future generations. Like her male counterpart, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Dr. Icenhower has become a leading, national expert in substance abuse treatment, particularly in family-centered treatment, and is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the 2009 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award, and the Innovator Award from CSAT (The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment).

As the founding member of the California Perinatal Treatment Network and the National Family Centered Treatment Director's Coalition, Dr. Icenhower continues to empower and enrich under served families throughout Los Angeles County, and looks forward to expanding SHIELDS across a national platform.

Dr. Icenhower's motto, "Believing, Building, and Becoming," is the foundation of her organization's treatment success, and is one that she lives by daily. As a national spokesperson and advocate for families, serving South Los Angeles for over 20 years, Dr. Kathryn Icenhower remains a dedicated champion and national icon for women and families across the country.

SHIELDS for Families is located at 11601 S. Western Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90047. Contact them at 323.242.5000 or via email at admindept(at)shieldsforfamilies(dot)org .

For more information about SHIELDS for Families visit them at http://www.shieldsforfamilies.org/ .

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MAKEDA SMITH

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