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Local agencies get $45,000 to help pregnant and parenting teenagers

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The Maternity and Early Childhood Foundation, Albany, awarded $45,000 to north country agencies to assist pregnant and parenting teenagers in Jefferson and Lewis counties.

The North Country Children’s Clinic received a $20,000 grant to help fund a parent education program for pregnant teenagers, and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County received a $25,000 grant for parent education and home visiting services within Jefferson and Lewis counties.

“The foundation funds are targeted to come up with strategies to engage in pregnant and parenting teenagers, or other pregnant women who might not seek (prenatal) care, and for lots of young military families,” said Catherine M. Moore, the extension’s nutrition and Fort Drum issues leader. “We’ll also be working with the community, such as school personnel, the medical community and community agencies.”

She said extension staff would like to teach pregnant teens or teenage parents about parenting, relationships, nutrition and breast feeding and financial management to families.

“We’ll be responsible for education, but also refer them to places we don’t have strength in,” Ms. Moore said.

The $20,000 grant to the Children’s Clinic will allow the clinic to continue its Healthy Outcomes program, which helps young parents-to-be establish healthy behaviors so they can deliver healthy babies and promote a nurturing environment for their children. Amy L. Langone, the clinic’s director of health services, said the clinic would not be able to support the program without the grant.

The clinic also may get teenagers from any referral source, as they don’t have to participate in agency’s Women, Infants and Children clinics.

“The purpose of the program is to teach them what they need to know to be healthy and have a healthy baby, as well as pointers for the baby’s first year of life,” Ms. Langone said. “In our previous grant year we were successful in that we had no premature births of the girls we worked with, and no babies were less than six pounds.”

All parents in the program also have had their babies fully immunized, she said.

Last year, Healthy Outcomes provided services to 44 pregnant or parenting teenagers in Jefferson County. Healthy Outcomes is provided free of charge, and the foundation grant will cover part of the cost of a part-time licensed practical nurse who provides case management and a registered nurse who will supervise the program from April 1 to March 2013.

For more information on Healthy Outcomes, call the clinic at 782-6400, and ask for Ms. Langone or Catherine Paro. To reach the extension office about its programs, call Ms. Moore at 788-8450.

The Maternity and Early Childhood Foundation funds for the north country were about 10 percent of the total $440,000 awarded to various state agencies.

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