Getting a Job: Rights as a MAT user and employment and childcare resources
Rebecca Campbell, MA
Disclaimer: Resources referenced within this blog are based on resources available prior to Covid-19. Resources may not currently be available to all individuals, but local DHHRs can provide updated information on resources as well as availability and requirements once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
Hi moms! Now that you have had time to get your feet wet with motherhood, you might be considering employment. You might want to find employment because you need income or you enjoy working; whatever the reason for wanting to return to work, thinking about finding employment can be daunting. However, I am here to review resources, your rights, and provide information on how to break down barriers to make the job seeking process seem like a walk in the park.
When looking for employment, some of the most common barriers are: lack of access to transportation, childcare needs, lack of experience or skills, and uncertainty about completing a resume and interview. For individuals who are utilizing Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) there may also be concerns about what your rights are and if you will be discriminated against due to being in treatment. For employment barriers and concerns related to MAT, there are resources and supports available to help you every step of the way.
Your Rights as a Medication Assisted Treatment User
If you are currently participating in a MAT program or may be participating in the future, it is important to know you have rights related to employment. According to the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, individuals who have a supervised drug rehabilitation program or have otherwise been successfully rehabilitated and are not currently engaged in the illegal use of drugs are protected by federal disability rights laws. The important distinction to allow federal protection of individuals who are participating in MAT is they are not currently participating in illegal drug use.
When applying for a position you may be requested to complete a drug screen. Medications used in MAT can potentially show up on a drug screen and employers may ask about the medication. If they do, you will be asked to provide documentation that the medication is prescribed. This can be done by showing your prescription or having documentation from your physician. If you have concerns or questions related to MAT contact your local Disability Rights of WV office to request information.
Resources are available to assist you with the entire job process including finding transportation, assistance with education, skills, childcare, and much more. The best place to start if you are facing barriers is by contacting Workforce WV or Jobs and Hope of WV. Both of these organizations have a vast supply of resources to help you find a career that you enjoy, identify barriers, and then work through those barriers with you. IMPACT WV has also partnered with Jobs and Hope to provide referral assistance needed to help you find gainful employment.
Finding childcare is one of the main barriers to finding employment. You may be able to find a career that you would enjoy, but finding someone to take care of your baby can be difficult. The good news is there are resources available to help you. Every DHHR office has a list of available daycares, both in home and center based, which can provide care for your baby. Depending on your work schedule you may need to get creative to find childcare. Consider asking friends/family if they can provide care, use resources such as Care.com to locate child care providers in the area, or contact the local university to see if there are individuals who are available for childcare such as individuals within teaching programs looking to gain experience with childcare.
Just remember whatever barrier you are facing or concerns you may have there are assistance programs available in West Virginia to help you on your path to employment.
Quick Tip: Contact the Education/Employment Specialist through IMPACT WV if you are needing assistance finding a career that is right for you. Referrals can be made to assist you in finding gainful employment, all while addressing any barriers you may be facing.
Campbell graduated with a BS in psychology and a MA in Human Services Counseling. She has thirteen years’ experience working in the social services field providing various levels of case management and counseling as needed, in areas including, but not limited to housing, mental health, substance use, basic needs, medical treatment, transportation, all services to provide and increase in quality of life.