PLAINFIELD, NJ - The next installment in our '12 Days of Giving' in the city is a guest post about the Plainfield Teen Parenting Program.
Established in 1989 and operating in the Plainfield High School, School Based Youth Services: Plainfield Teen Parenting Program, Inc. (SBYS: PTPP) has achieved extraordinary success as a drop-out prevention program.
The initiative was developed in response to the growing incidences of teenage pregnancies in Plainfield. With an initial grant of $350,000 each (to ten similar projects throughout the country) from the AT&T Foundation, the program's earliest mission was to enable teen parents attending school to successfully carry out parenting, educational/vocational and health care responsibilities by facilitating access to needed support services.
Additional program goals included helping young parents to break the cycle of child abuse and repeat pregnancies, as well as provide the guiding resources to self-motivate the parents in the program to continue their post high school education.
The program also included a quality operated early care and education program for the infants and toddlers of the young parents in its on-site “Infant & Toddler Center” located in the high school. The positive results of this program have made it the national and international model for similar programs and it has been replicated in 14 cities in NJ. Of the 10 initial projects the Plainfield program remains a stellar support program in the community.
Some of SBYS: PTPP's program activities include weekly well-baby and well-mother care, life skills training, family and academic counseling, parenting classes, parent support groups, peer parenting support and information sharing groups, job skills training, tutoring, “for dads only” program, and extended family support efforts.
Notable is the fact that the program's extensive pregnancy prevention component has now been incorporated in the junior high school grades; additionally, teen pregnancy in Plainfield, and across the state has been declining the past few years.
Since its inception, nearly 700 students have been enrolled in the program, which accommodates up to 28 parents and their children per school year.
A significant achievement for the program is that SBYS: PTPP has achieved a 98% graduation rate among its senior student participants with many going on to a continued education or vocation program and becoming productive citizens in the communities where they live and work. Also noteworthy, their children, the infants and toddlers who received the early care and education in the childcare center, continue to make excellent education strides. They appear to be more focused, socially confident, intent on learning and desirous of receiving a good education. Most of the babies that have grown up in this program are college graduates.
Annually program parents and children are blessed with a holiday dinner and gift giving party sponsored by New Outlook Pioneers, Shiloh Baptist Church, and Century 21 – John C. Campbell Realty. This year’s event will take place on Wednesday, December 13, 2017 in the Center.
Donations to provide grocery gift cards for the families or to support this outstanding program may be made to SBYS: PTPP, Inc. and mailed to Pat Fields - 207 Long Hill Road, Hillsborough, NJ 08844.