Katie and David participated in the Young Parent Program through Crete High School. This program, which is funded through the Sixpence Early Learning Fund, provides parenting classes for teenagers, high-quality child care for the babies and, most critically, one-on-one home visits to provide intensive, personalized parenting instruction. All of these components were vital to helping David exceed his milestones to become a healthy, school-ready little boy — all while giving Katie the support and knowledge she needed to become an outstanding mother, a high-school graduate and a promising nursing student.
Katie was in high school when she got pregnant with David. Her own mother had left her when she was a small child, so she lived alone with her father. They didn’t have a healthy relationship, so Katie moved in with her grandmother soon after starting the Young Parent Program in Crete.
Stephanni Renn, the home visitation professional, began working with David and Katie when the baby was born. Katie’s initial score on a parenting skills assessment was 2.3 out of 5. “That bummed her out a lot,” recalls Stephanni. “She wanted to be a good mom, she just didn’t know how.”
Katie worked hard with Stephanni, watching and analyzing video-taped interactions between herself and David, sometimes during long, intensive sessions. Stephanni provided instruction on constructive, engaged parenting, letting Katie know that she didn’t have to be talking and playing with David non-stop – sometimes it was just as important to follow David’s lead an let him entertain himself and become more independent.
Katie was clearly committed to becoming a good mother to David. “When she retook the test, she got a 4.9 out of 5,” Stephanni told us.
The Young Parent Program was able to work with the principal of Crete High School to develop a graduation plan for Katie. “Those partnerships with the school are so important,” says Stephanni. Thanks to this support, Katie graduated high school. She’s currently at Southeast Community College taking nursing classes, and will be transferring to Doane in Fall 2013. While she’s attending class, David stays with his great grandmother.
David and Katie have a tremendous bond. Katie is on track to become a nurse who can provide a stable, healthy life for the son she loves so much. David, now 2 years old, currently tests at the developmental achievement of a 3.6-year-old.
“She’s a good, good mom,” says Stephanni proudly of Katie.