Family Is What You Make It
Imagine a teenager who hasn’t had a nurturing family of her own, who has been abused and neglected and suddenly becomes the mainstay of a family, responsible for the healthy development of a new baby.
Our Mother & Child program helps teen mothers in foster care create the strong families they may have never had and provide their children with love, guidance, and security. In a safe, nurturing environment, these young women learn to create lasting bonds with their children, develop parenting skills to ensure that their children are prepared to be successful, with the confidence they need to get ahead in their own lives.
The mother-and-child families at our residence in the Bronx may not be traditional, but they are grounded in the positive parenting practices of mothers who are dedicated to success in their own lives despite backgrounds that may include abuse, poverty, and homelessness.
Each mother and her child has a private room — a home of their own to decorate as they like, a place to be together as a family. Common areas provide opportunities for peer support and recreation, including a playroom so mothers and their children can play together. A study room gives young moms a place to focus on their schoolwork, and an onsite nursery ensures that their children are cared for by staff in a loving, familiar environment while mom is at school or work.
Building on Personal Strengths to Create Loving Families
Our Mother & Child program helps teen mothers, who are just starting to plan their lives and with limited experience themselves being nurtured or cared for, learn parenting skills from the basics, like diapering and bathing a baby, to the more complex, such as how to read with their child or set boundaries.
While learning to be nurturing parents, our moms are also building the self confidence needed to move forward in their own lives, whether that means finishing high school or getting a job.
With the help of a multidisciplinary team using the Bright Beginnings/Personal Best model, these young mothers learn how to cope with the life’s challenges, from money management to good nutrition. In doing so, they learn that they are competent, capable and, finally, important to someone.
Ensuring a Strong Foundation for Children
With nurturing moms taking care of them, the children in the Mother & Child program are off to a good start in life. Their mothers know how to help them learn so they have the pre-literacy skills needed to do well in school and to become confident, competent students. The Mother & Child program makes sure they have medical care and the formal preschool education they need to thrive and grow. They’ve got a healthy family.