Arkansas program helps take care of teen moms and their children

Program helps take care of teen moms and their children

It's not easy being a parent but it's especially difficult when you're still trying to get a high school diploma.

But one program is trying to make that easier for these teen moms and dads.

Audrey Scaife had her three-year-old daughter Olivia while she was still attending Conway High School, she was a teen mom.

"I’m not sure if I would have actually been able to continue with school," Scaife said.

But then she was introduced to an organization called Conway cradle care, a program that is funded through the department of human services child care development block grant, designed to help low-income families take care of kids, while teen moms attend school.

"It allows us to breath,” Scaife said, “it allows a teen parent to say okay, I have a cushion I have a backup plan."

And that's not only because it includes child care, but there's also mentoring, counseling and tutors for parents like Audrey.

"They are serving those children, those babies in a high-quality setting,” Bandy Ishmon, infant and toddler coordinator for the Child Care and Early Childhood Education program, said. “But in turn, they're also helping that family, which is going to help them across the board."

"We really see what the child needs or how they're progressing and we can talk about that with the parents," Kelsey Powell, who works at Conway Cradle Care, said.

The hope for people at Conway cradle care is that more of these types of centers will become available for teen parents across Arkansas.

"We encourage all childcare providers to take that next step, take a look into your community and see what the needs are there and take that next step in providing those extensive services for those families," Ishmon said.

"We definitely would have had a tough road ahead of us instead of having that smooth of a road as we had," Scaife said.

Audrey credits a lot of her success to this program.

She says thanks to its help, she now attends school at the University of Central Arkansas.

Follow Nick Popham on Twitter at @KATVPopham.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off