Young Mothers’ Program
The Young Mothers Program aims to improve literacy and numeracy skills and knowledge relating to healthy pregnancy, child development and positive parenting for 15 to 17-year-olds in Cherbourg who are pregnant and unable to attend school.
The Young Mothers’ Program was introduced as a three year partnership between Murgon State High School and South Burnett Community Training Centre (Connections Youth Service) to link pregnant teenagers back into education and training. The two agencies provide educational programs and support in partnership. The Jinda Interagency group whose focus is to ensure that young people have access to education, identified this particular group of girls as being at high risk of not engaging in education or training following the births of their babies. Read more
Why it Works
The Young Mothers Program works because the girls want the opportunity to continue their education. Most do not want to drop out of school and there is now compelling evidence showing those who don’t feel comfortable attending school when they are pregnant leave and never return. This can affect their health and that of their babies, as well as limiting their chances of employment in the future. Read more
Keys to keeping this initiative alive
This is the second year of a three year funded program. There is a desire to continue the program based on the benefits for the participants and the wider community. Funding for the next three years of the program will be sought after reviewing the current program and negotiating with service providers. Read more
Advice to others who might want to try this in their communities
It’s important to find out what’s being done to support young mothers in their communities and how they overcome challenges. Connections staff advise: “Don’t reinvent the wheel. There’s no point in starting from scratch!” While learning from others can save time and energy, it is still important to find out exactly what the specific issues are in your own community.
Each community has its own needs so the local solution has to take account of that. One of the issues confronting the Cherbourg program was transport. While most of the program is conducted in the community, some of it occurs outside the community. The girls couldn’t drive and did not have access to other transport so a bus had to be used with enough room for 10 young mothers, and their ten baby seats. This has worked very well in allowing access to education and services for the girls and their babies.