This $4.2 million dollar project funded by the U.S. Department of Adolescent Health to the state of Tennessee, exemplifies the federal, state, and local commitment to aggressively reducing the teen pregnancy and parenting rate in Memphis and Shelby County. Only 17 states were awarded and the state of TN was the only state to dedicate the entirety of its funding to one locality. All other states distributed throughout several counties.
In a nutshell:
Shelby County will oversee the implementation of a 3 year demonstration project, in which the Memphis City School district will hire 5 social workers whose job it is to identify, recruit, link/refer, and track 320+ pregnant and parenting teens as they receive prenatal care and other early pregnancy and parenting support services through the Early Success Provider Network. (The Early Success Provider Network is a network of early pregnancy & childhood service providers that share MOU’s and meet regularly to improve the service delivery system in Memphis, Shelby County.)
With funding from the grant, “Baby stores” in the south and north areas of Memphis will supply participating teens with those necessary items in preparation for parenthood such as cribs, diapers, clothing, and breast pumps through a new voucher system developed for this project, ensuring teens are actively participating in services.
All participating teens will receive ongoing prenatal care provided either through their individual OB/GYN or through an innovative approach called Centering Pregnancy, a program in which prenatal care is provided “on school campus” or campus healthcare clinic, in a group setting with other peer participants of similar gestational age.
In addition, all participating teens will be linked into any of the needed 70+ Early Success partnering organizations for the provision of case management, home visitation services, parenting education, “quality” child care, Early Head Start, Head Start, and Pre-K.