Teen HOPES program provides young mothers guidance and support

The Children’s Shelter announces the launch of iParent SA® Teen HOPES, a free home visitation program for teen parents. Home visitation programs strengthen and improve parenting skills and practices, increase parental knowledge of child development, prevent child abuse and neglect, and decrease subsequent teen births.

The program is part of a nationwide effort to decrease child maltreatment by addressing the Period of Purple Crying, which focuses on the first four months of a child’s life when they are more prone to abuse. Teen HOPES is open to teens 13-19 years of age who are more than 29 weeks pregnant or have given birth to a child(ren) in the previous 24 months.

Parenting is a tough job and parenting at a young age can pose even more challenges.  Teens are still navigating their place in the world, thinking about their future after high school, and often balancing extracurricular activities and/or jobs. Teen HOPES pairs young mothers with educated and caring parent educators to receive services for up to two years. The parent educator provides parenting education and case management in the home. As home visitors, the parent educators are able to observe the mother and child bond as well as help provide resources for families to be successful.

Parent educators and teen mothers build special bonds and are able to have honest conversations about parenting, the future, and more. Home visits are about 1 to 1-½ hours in length and are offered weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly depending on the individual need. Parent educators are always just a phone call, text, or email away and readily available to help.

Teen HOPES' staff includes five parent educators and one program manager. It hopes to serve 125 teen mothers in its first year. Bilingual staff will also be available to assist teens, grandparents, and parents participating in the program.

Teen HOPES is funded by a contract from the City of San Antonio Metro Health Department's 1115 Medicaid Waiver Project.

Do you know a teen mother who wants to become part of our family of services? If so, please email iparentsa@chshel.org or call/text Natalie Lopez at 210-760-9579.

Contributed by Yvette Sanchez, Vice President of Family Strengthening, The Children's Shelter