Home is not always the optimal environment for a pregnant teen, and in cases in which this is so, a residential facility may provide a better situation. This article provides an introduction to residential facilities for pregnant teens.
Residential Facilities for Pregnant Teen Basics
There are a number of residential facilities for pregnant teens in the US, some of which accept only the pregnant mother and some of which accept the whole new family. These facilities may be appropriate when there is no one to care for the teen, when the home situation is not a healthy setting for the pregnant teen, or when her education is being interrupted by issues around her pregnancy.
All residential facilities for pregnant teens are designed for special populations by definition, and some are explicitly designed to deal with pregnant teens who have additional issues, such as a diagnosis of a mental health issue, a chemical dependency, or emotional or behavioral issues. Treatment facilities with these specialties should be licensed for all the treatments they provide. One place to find them is on the website of the National Association of Therapeutic Schools and Programs http://www.natsap.org/programsearch.asp
Eligibility For Residential Facilities for Pregnant Teens
Other than having a diagnosable condition in addition to pregnancy in specifically targeted therapeutic facilities, homes with a focus on pregnancy also have criteria for admittance. These criteria include age, whether the teen is pregnant or parenting. Some accept young people up to age 29. Other criteria may include the lack of another available setting with adult supervision, eligibility for Medicaid, parental consent (if under 18), in the foster care system of a particular jurisdiction, homelessness, and being in the child welfare system. In facilities without a specific therapeutic bent, young women with a history of drug use, teen violence, and/or mental health issues may be excluded.
Referrers for Residential Facilities for Pregnant Teens
Pregnant teens get matched to programs or residential facilities through a variety of methods. Websites like NATSAP may be searched by parents, guardians, and social workers. Other referrals may come from child welfare agencies, hospitals, schools, shelters, the juvenile justice system, foster care, hotlines, health clinics, and social service organizations.
Residential Facilities for Pregnant Teens Services
Different residential facilities for pregnant teens provide different services. Some may allow them a way to continue their education, through an on-site school, for example, or tutoring. Almost all provide case management. Most provide 24-hour supervision and guarantee to have staff awake at all hours of all days. Many offer life skills classes, and some offer mental health counseling. Outreach to the father of the young woman’s child or children is another service in some cases. Additional services may include transportation for medical appointments and more, childcare for residents, and screening of children for intervention services such as Early Head Start.