Combining school and mothering

The next day I attended a home visit with Melissa. We visited a young mother and her eight month old daughter. The young mother is living in supported accommodation, in a self-contained unit. In the unit, there is a resident youth worker, housing up to 12 young mothers. The apartments are next door to a secondary school, specifically catering for young pregnant women and young mothers. It offers modified programs, and on-site childcare.

The Salvation Army Grace Haven was founded in 1896 to serve young women and their children. There are two major program streams for females between the ages of 13 and 21:

The residential program has a 12 bed capacity and provides prenatal and postnatal care, prenatal classes by a public health nurse, access to a public health clinic, high school education offered onsite by the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, life skills, preparation for independent living, counselling, parenting education, infant play, recreation, NFP home visiting, and respite care available to female non-pregnant teens when referred by selected agencies.

The community program is accessed on a weekly basis and offers high school credits offered on-site by the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, access to public health clinic and prenatal classes (day and evening), life skills, counselling, “Nobody’s Perfect” parenting program, breastfeeding peer support, twenty-four hour telephone support line, NFP home visiting, New Choices Program for substance using pregnant and parenting teens/women offered onsite, and Chaplaincy services. Lunch is provided at no cost.

Today’s meeting was focussed on safety, with Melissa reviewing the measures the mother has put in place to accommodate an increasingly mobile crawler.