Parenthood isn't easy, but teen parenthood comes with a unique set of issues. Antoinette Hoard, Early Head Start director at the Children's Coalition for Northeast Louisiana, says that teen parents can go on to live productive lives after giving birth and the Children's Coalition is a community resource that can help.
On the impact of teen pregnancy on early childhood development and the effects that teen pregnancy could have on the growth and development of babies
With babies born to teens we are looking at some developmental delays that could possibly be there and some medical risks that can happen. There are a lot of risk factors that can happen in teens that may not happen in a person who is older.
On the things that society/community can do to prevent some of those delays
To encourage the teen to get the medical attention she needs, and also to encourage the teen that she can continue her life. She can continue to be a better person in society. She can still get her education. She can do all the things she wanted to do even though she’s pregnant. We just have to encourage them, help network, and connect them to the services that they need.
On successful teen parenting through dedication and community resources
One teen that we had got pregnant her senior year in high school. During her senior year, she gave up and got connected to our programs through her counselor at her school. She ended up graduating with a 3.0 and she decided to go to ULM. Now, she’s in the Nursing Program at ULM. We’re excited that she was connected to our program and she was able to get her child in our Early Head Start Program and continue her education.
On resources that are available to teen moms in order to develop practical skills in parenting
We need practice as adults, too, but we have lots of things going on at the Children’s Coalition with them. Of course, we have our Early Head Start program where she can bring her child to her program and we will provide care for them. We have a home-based program where we can come out to her home and work with her. We also have our Jus4Me Program that goes out to area high schools and works with teens to connect them to all the services that they need. There are also other places that she can go such as: Nurse-Family Partnership, AETNA, and other programs in the community that can meet their needs. The Children’s Coalition also provides parenting programs.