Raleigh non-profit that cares for babies of imprisoned mothers needs new home

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Sarah Peterson is uncertain about what will happen to her and her four-month-old son Charlie when Raleigh non-profit Pharaoh's Daughter comes to the end of its lease is at the end of July.

"It is nerve-wracking to think that I'm here, I'm happy, I'm doing great and then all of a sudden things are getting close to the end here," said Peterson who is currently on probation for a 2018 felony conviction.

Peterson found out she was pregnant with Charlie when she was arrested last year.

After giving birth, her parole officer urged her to join Pharaoh's Daughter.

Susan Henson founded the non-profit she now runs with her sister Diane out of a five-bedroom house in south Raleigh. The owner of the property is ready to sell and the sisters have yet to find a place to move when their lease is up at the end of July.

Unlike similar prison ministries, Pharaoh's Daughter houses and cares for babies born to inmates and then works to fulfill its mission of breaking the cycle of poverty and incarceration by bringing the mother in as well when she's released from prison.

Since 2017, Henson said Pharaoh's Daughter has helped six mothers and seven children.

"We want this to be the baby's home that the baby is familiar with so that the baby can also welcome mom into their family home," Henson said.

Henson said the landlord notified them of the upcoming sale four months ago, just as Sarah and Charlie were moving in. She's been on the hunt, responding to ads, but has struggled to find the right house within their tight budget.

"You can stick your own neck out, but when you are the caretaker of other people, especially babies, it gets a little scary wondering what will tomorrow look like," Henson said.

Pharaoh's Daughter mentors both mom and baby for two years following incarceration, enrolling the mother at Wake Tech so she can earn a degree and get a job.

Peterson starts school in August to become a substance abuse counselor.

"This is pretty much the answer for me. This is my boost to do right in life--go to school, get that house, get that car, make your child proud of you. Keep him. Stop getting in trouble. I needed these people, and I needed this program," said Peterson. "Wherever Pharaoh's Daughter goes, me and Charlie are going."

For now, Henson is continuing to look, relying as she always has on the generosity of the community, holding fast to her faith in God.

"I have full trust that he's going to show up because he always has shown up," said Henson. "It's not just because I have a relationship with him, but he loves Sarah, and he loves Charlie. And he arranged for them to be here with us."
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