Success StoriesEarly Head Start(show/hide)
Chandra, a teen parent of a one-year-old, called CCCS to arrange for her Early Head Start Home Visit to take place at the hospital. A Home Visitor recounts, “Her daughter had pneumonia and she was worried the child was becoming depressed. Chandra thought my visit would cheer her up.”
Typically, home visits focus on building a trusting relationship and teaching parent-child activities to promote healthy development. Chandra’s call demonstrated the program’s success. She valued the Home Visitor’s presence in her family’s life and understood the importance of stable adult relationships for her child.
Now at home, Chandra and her daughter, with their Home Visitor, continue to make progress toward self-sufficiency.
Kelly’s childhood was marked by frequent domestic violence and disruption. She was a victim of sexual abuse and its trauma. During her first few years in foster care, Kelly moved frequently among foster homes, shelters, and residential settings as her needs proved too difficult for many of her caregivers to manage. Kelly changed schools frequently, fell behind in her studies and struggled with substance abuse.
CCCS’s Teen Alliance Professional Foster Parent placement, now going on two years, is the longest foster care placement Kelly has ever experienced. She has made strong gains as a result of the stability Teen Alliance provides.
Kelly now attends an alternative high school where she is receiving all passing grades. She is fully in engaged in Teen Alliance services and has made significant progress in therapy services. Kelly’s depression has decreased and she no longer experiences thoughts of suicide.
Although she still struggles in many areas, Kelly now appears motivated to make positive changes in her life, is on track to graduate high school, and has the advantage of continued support from the Teen Alliance program and staff.
At just 16, David made a decision to stand up and be the man that his parent never was; he would be a father to his child. However, during the next six months, while waiting for his child to be born, David had another decision to make. He was very confused because friends and family told him he should forget about his dreams to go to college…he should quit school now and get a job because he would soon have financial responsibilities. Fortunately, David joined the Next Step Readiness Program and received the support and encouragement he needed. Next Step showed him that having a college degree would give him more marketable skills and David could be a much better provider for himself and his daughter.
David completed high school and is enrolled in college, studying Computer Science. And, with the references he received from his mentors at Next Step, David has a part-time job to help with his daughter’s expenses.
Tara felt her life was over. Only 16, Tara was pregnant, her mother was devastated and had threatened to put her out. Tara had lost her mother’s belief in her, but Tara’s belief in herself was lost too. She had always been a good student and hoped to go to college. Now her grades were down and she thoughts of quitting school. Tara began to believe in herself again when she joined the Next Step College Readiness Program.
Through Next Step, Tara selected, visited and applied to the college she decided to attend. Her Next Step mentors and peer mentors gave her all the encouragement she needed to stay in school. Tara now attends a state university where she is majoring in Business Administration.
Tara believes that with a college education she will be able to build a secure financial future for herself and her son.
“If it weren’t for the support you gave me and the information you shared, I would not be where I am today.” – L’Tanya, Teen Parent Initiative participant
CCCS’s Teen Parent Initiative’s home visits and in-school support helped L’Tanya overcome many obstacles on her way toward independence, including college and a first apartment.
L’Tanya had a baby while she was still in high school. Her mother told her she could no longer live at home. L’Tanya moved from one friend or relative’s place to another while she struggled to finish high school and raise her child.
Through this tumultuous time, a CCCS Parent Educator remained a stable force, providing encouragement, guidance and referrals to community resources. With the Parent Educator’s support, L’Tanya filled out college applications, stayed in school, and took care of her daughter. Today she looks back with a sense of accomplishment and gratitude.
Many teen fathers who enter CCCS’s Teen Parent Initiative are like Michael. At the start, he was heavily involved in gang activity and rarely attended school.
Michael’s Parent Educator stressed two messages: the importance of fatherhood and finishing school. More importantly, he backed up these messages with watchfulness and support, monitoring Michael’s progress and taking action as soon as he veered off course.
Michael—now working and attending community college—credits his Parent Educator with helping him finish high school and learn the skills to be a good father.