Teen PregnancyPrograms That Work Now
Some 63% of teen parents depended on public programs for medical needs and
daily living expenses in 1992. This includes needs for formula, food, heat,
and transportation. In Ohio, the state, private organizations and federally
funded programs together provide assistance to pregnant teens and teen
mothers. The programs make sure that the girls are eating well, receive
prenatal care, and get encouragement to stay in school to secure a future for
themselves and their children.
There are private organizations and communities that have tried to fill the
gaps of these national programs. A program in the Covington, Kentucky school
district offers an example that few Ohio school’s have tried. Holmes High
School has incorporated a child care center on campus making it easier for
teen parents to stay in school. I’d have to try to get up real early before
school to get her to a day care. But now I just bring her to school with me
every day, says Amy Gilbert, there would be no way I could afford it . Holmes High’s Chapman Child Development Center services approximately
40 to 45 teens. With the help from grants and money from the mothers’ Aid to
Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) checks the center manages to educate
the needs of children to the mothers and keep them in school.
The center is also supported by the Federal Child Care Program whose existence
is being threatened by The Contract with America. When asked what the Contract
means to the center’s future, program director Peggy Browning put it simply,
It is going to kill us. We will not be able to run this place.
The center’s goals are to improve the attendance of the parents, increase,
their self esteem, educate parents in the needs of their children, and make
sure parents will be able to work in the future. These goals are steps to
insure and educated teens so they may become productive adults in our
communities. They will be less likely to have children again until there are
Fathers are making more of an appearance since the center opened last year.
Some attend the parenting classes and take time out to sit and play with their
son or daughter. This is unusual. The center makes it easier for the fathers
to get involved.
More programs are needed like this in Ohio where the drop-out rate in 1992 was
at 56% for teen mothers. By cutting funding to AFDC (Aid to Families with
Dependent Children) the government would be directly increasing that rate.
A private organization, Directions for Youth is trying to fulfill these
mother’s needs in another way. They want to make sure the girls have someone
they know they can count on. Teen Connection, a program within the
organization, was established with grants from Franklin County Children
Services to set up a volunteer and teen match.
The volunteer becomes a friend to the teen to encourage her to open up and
discuss whatever she is having trouble with or what things she is excited
The matches spend a few hours a week together doing a variety of activities
either with or without the teen’s child. They may go to dinner, or a movie,
the zoo, or just sit home and talk. When the volunteer signs up with Teen
Connection she outlines some goals she wants to establish. They usually
encourage the mother to continue with their studies at school and to think
ahead to the future.
Lori Severt, 17, mother of 17 month-old Christopher, and Rhonda Roseberry, 24,
have been meeting for a year now. Since then Kerri Sauber, the Volunteer
Coordinator has seen Lori’s self esteem improve and she has become more
outgoing, a trait lacking in many teen mothers.
To give practical help the Lamaze Childbirth Association prepares teen mothers
for the last few weeks in their pregnancy just as much as women. The
association gives a seven week natural childbirth class in Columbus geared to
the needs of young mothers. With the help of grants from the federal, state
and local level the program can be offered to low income girls with no charge,
and make the birthing process less scary.