Once a young woman becomes pregnant, the focus becomes not on preventing pregnancy, but on teenage pregnancy and daycare. Most parents of teen mothers want their daughters to finish their high school education, but the cost of daycare can make the path to graduation difficult.
Finding daycare within a high school setting, networking with other teen moms, or using traditional daycare options can all help a teen mom finish her degree.
Daycares at High Schools
Throughout the country, high schools with high teen pregnancy rates have been implementing daycare options within the school. Teen moms can drop off their child during the school day in order to attend classes. Providing daycare options at high schools can help teen parents finish their education rather than dropping out.
Like other drop-off daycares, one at a high school will often require the following to be provided for each child:
- Extra clothing
- Wipes, lotions, and other toiletry supplies
- Formula, breastmilk, or other appropriate food
Because funding is often hard to get for such programs, some schools have a limited amount of space available. Check with a guidance counselor to find out if there are any requirements or restrictions, or to be placed on a waiting list for the daycare.
Unlike traditional daycares, most high school programs are completely free for those who qualify. However, a number of caveats are often attached to using the daycare facility, like taking prenatal classes before birth. Other requirements might include:
- Speaking to classmates about preventing teen pregnancy
- Speaking to classmates about teen parenting challenges
- Taking parenting classes through the daycare
- Using free periods to feed and interact with the child
Schools like Malden High School in Massachusetts have seen a rise in the graduation rate of teen parents since implementing daycare facilities and parenting programs.
Not all teen mothers will find they qualify for using the daycare, feel comfortable leaving their child in a public school daycare, or have access to a daycare at a high school near them. Using other daycare opportunities can help them achieve scholastic success.
Teenage Pregnancy and Daycare: Network to Find Care
If a daycare facility is not provided at your local high school, or the program is already full, you can still find affordable options. One of the best ways to find reasonable daycare during the school day is to ask other pregnant teens what they have done. A support group for teenage pregnancy can provide ample resources for a mom-to-be.
County health services may also be able to provide a list of low-income state daycare facilities. To use these services, a teen mom must often meet certain financial requirements. Call your health care provider or county health board to get more information.
Finally, check with local churches, shelters, or charity groups. For teenage moms, especially those experiencing problems with their own families during this time of change, a new place of residence may also be needed. Local charitable groups may have information regarding places to live that have on-site daycare while allowing the teenage mom to attend GED classes or her regular high school classes.
Traditional Daycare Options
For teenage pregnancy and daycare, a lot of options have all ready been discussed. However, if low-cost daycare is not available or high school-provided care is not in your district, a teen mom can still find care for her child.
Traditional child daycare options include:
- Using a daycare center or facility
- Taking your child to an in-home daycare provider
- Asking a friend or relative to watch your child
- Hiring a nanny
The list of options ranges from potentially low cost to upwards of thousands of dollars. Each traditional daycare option has pros and cons that should be weighed carefully before choosing.
Teenage pregnancy and daycare may not be the first thing that young people (or their parents) think of when a teen pregnancy is confirmed. But getting a teen parent through high school by finding adequate daycare facilities will provide a better life for both mom and baby.