NEW BRUNSWICK - The Parent-Infant Care Center (PIC-C) program at New Brunswick High School doesn't just give teen parents an opportunity to continue their education - it also gives these new parents an incentive to excel in their studies to be able to provide for a better future for their families.
On top of the opportunity to continue their education, student parents also get a support team. That's because PIC-C connects young parents to resources such as Women, Infant, and Children Services, Puerto Rican Action Board support programs, and the Harmony Family Success Center.
Case managers help student parents set up doctor appointments, update insurance, work toward school goals, and set life goals - all essential life skills for parents.
The program has had a life-changing impact on students like senior Daniela Lopez Hernandez. Daniela has an 18-month-old son who stays in PIC-C while she's in class. Daniela loves the PIC-C program because, unlike other babysitting programs, the PIC-C room is free and only a few steps away during the school day and she is allowed to eat lunch with her son.
According to one young mother, “PIC-C has helped me in many ways because they take care of my son while I go to my classes and with that I can graduate on time and I don't lag behind.” Another student also stated, “At first it was hard to leave my son there, but I trust the teachers like Mrs. Mercedes to take care of my kid because they show so much love to my son.”
Another student parent describes PIC-C’s teachers as “down-to-earth” because the teachers “take care of our kids just as if they were their kids.”
The program’s success is seen in the numbers: to date 100% of its participants remained in school, 86% have graduated, and 98% did not have a second pregnancy while in school. On a national level, the CDC reports that in 2015 only 50% of teen mothers received a diploma by age 22.