As part of Child Abuse Prevention Month, we asked staff in our Prevention and Parent Education programs to speak about their program and how new moms and their babies are being positively impacted by the services and support provided by Robins’ Nest.
Jillian Lafferty, Program Supervisor for our Adolescent Supportive Housing Programs, wrote about one of the newest programs offered at Robins’ Nest, the Expectant and Parenting Youth program.
For Robins’ Nest’s new Expectant and Parenting Youth program, a bed is just the beginning.
“Months prior to coming here, I lived in a shelter with my baby. I was homeless and had just gotten out of a relationship that was abusive. I had no one. But despite everything that I had been through, I never gave up on wanting to provide my daughter with a better life; to raise her in a childhood that was far better than what I experienced growing up. Robins’ Nest has given me an opportunity to do just that. I am thankful for the support I have received so far from the program.” –EPY resident.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014 data, a total of 249,078 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years. Less favorable socioeconomic conditions, such as low education and low income levels of a teen’s family, may contribute to high teen birth rates. Teens in child welfare systems are at higher risk of teen pregnancy and birth than other groups. For example, young women living in foster care are more than twice as likely to become pregnant than those not in foster care.
Our Expectant and Parenting Youth program provides at-risk expectant and parenting teens, an affordable apartment for them and their children to live stably. Along with housing, our program provides consistent supportive services to effectively address the complicated needs of this population such as untreated trauma, lack of positive supports, employment and educational needs, and parenting education.
Robins’ Nest understands that children acquire the abilities to become responsible, empathetic adults from the people who are most involved with them –their parents. Parenting is the most important and challenging job; yet, it receives little recognition in our society. A lack of support and training, especially for our young adults, can leave them feeling isolated and result in many short-term and long-term negative effects. Our Expectant and Parenting Youth staff strive to provide knowledge for our inexperienced parents to become self-sufficient and raise their children with pride, in many ways:
• Linking parents to Prevention and Parent Education Programs such as Healthy Families and Nurse Family Partnership
• Connecting parents to local Family Success Centers and social service organizations
• Increasing life skills through weekly one-on-one sessions and ongoing workshops
• Providing access and assistance to complete ongoing child development screenings
• Supporting parents in utilizing early childhood services and early intervention services
• Discussing the importance of and strengthening the parent/child bond
Our Expectant and Parenting Youth program have already begun improving outcomes for our parents and their children. Our young adults are not only increasing their parenting education, they are focusing on obtaining employment, meeting consistently with support staff, exploring their career interests, and raising their children in a comfortable and safe environment. Robins’ Nest is here to help them with a struggle that every parent experiences: overcoming fears they never knew existed and learning about strengths they never knew they had.