Supporting Teen Parents To Change a Baby’s Life

24/04/13 0

Every ten minutes, another baby is born to a teen mother.  Even though statistics show a drop in Teen Pregnancy, the circumstances of babies born into the duress of poverty have been endemic for many years. For instance the state of Nevada recently announced they will spend an estimated 84 billion dollars addressing support for Teen Parents in 2013 and that figure will “barely help make a dent” according to state officials., The CDC just released a report highlighting the dire situation of repeat births among teen mothers. 183 teens give birth every day in the US, and 86% (1 in 5) are repeat births. The importance of educating and empowering these young women should not be underestimated. Teen parents who have the support system they need to become great mothers, are much more likely to give their babies the loving start they deserve.

 That is why in 2008, The Lionheart Foundation created a program for Teen Parents as part of our National Emotional Literacy Project for Youth at Risk. Power Source Parenting is a cutting edge program designed to give at risk teen parents the guidance and skills they need to be loving, effective parents and raise healthy children. The centerpiece of the program is the book, Power Source Parenting: Growing Up Strong and Raising Healthy Kids and The Power Source Parenting Facilitator’s Manual written by Dr. Bethany Casarjian, Clinical Director of Lionheart’s youth projects and co-author of Power Source. This theory-driven intervention provides the opportunity to impact the lives of thousands of teen parents as well as their children and future generations.

Our work with teen parents is an integral part of mission. In the past year, we received two “permission to use” requests from major national initiatives in Canada and the U.S., whereby our teen parenting program will gain exponential exposure. The first is “Parents as Teachers” (PAT), a national evidence-based maternal, infant, early childhood home visiting program with more than 5,600 full-time and 3,100 part-time parent educators serving 255,000 children. They wrote, “The Power Source Parenting book and Facilitator’s Manual are an impressive contribution to the field. The writing team from the National Office of PAT is revising our Teen Curriculum… We would like to place a sample of your ideas into the curriculum and frequently refer to the Power Source Parenting text.”

The other request came from a national project in Canada. Dr. J. MacDonald, wrote, “I am the Clinical Leader and senior psychiatrist of a maternal mental health program in Canada. We have been searching for resources that will speak in a language our young at risk mothers can relate to and have been very impressed with the clinical frontline relevance and helpfulness of your materials. We are leading a Canadian national project to develop the Mothers’ Mental Health Toolkit, a government funded resource for community-based family support workers to give to these young mothers. We would like to add Power Source Parenting to our resource list in the Toolkit. It is heartening to discover colleagues in developing healthy families and resilient communities.”

To learn more about the Lionheart Foundation, click here.