Pregnant and Parenting Teenagers in Education
Tina Bampton, Melinda Brown
Department of Education & Training
Two educators, Tina Bampton and Melinda Brown, have been working in the suburb of Narre Warren with disadvantaged youth, specialising in pregnant and parenting teens. They have been supporting youth aged 15-20 years to complete their secondary education at Narre Community Learning Centre, now known as Foundation Learning Centre. Both educators were awarded a joint Fellowship enabling them to travel to the USA to visit similar organisations that are supporting pregnant or parenting teens.
The Fellows visited four organisations at five locations; Simpsons Academy for Young Women, Hope Academy, Nowell Leadership Academy and Alley’s House to conduct a quantitative evaluation of their programs. With an emphasis placed on discussions with students, counsellors/support staff and coordinators or Principals of the various programs, the Fellows sought to learn about new program ideas, engagement strategies, parenting programs and support services that have proven successful.
The Fellows found that Australia does not have the same attitude or access to philanthropy as the USA organisations. They also highlighted the need for further wrap around, onsite services to support this most vulnerable cohort of students. These services include case management (including housing, financial, emergency funds, self-care, navigating forms and support with job seeking) counselling/wellbeing, onsite childcare, food bank, baby boutique and health clinic.