SEATTLE — Washington state has received a $6 million federal grant that will help connect expectant and parenting teens, women, fathers, and their families with health, education, and social services.
The grant money will primarily be spent on programs in the state’s four-county region of Yakima, Franklin, Grant and Adams. This region has some of the highest teen pregnancy and birth rates. On-time graduation rates for the area are lower than the state average.
This effort is known as the Expectant and Parenting Teens, Women, Fathers and Their Families project. The goals include:
• Increasing educational achievement and high school completion rates;
• Reducing the number of teens having more than one baby during their teen years;
• Ensuring healthy starts for children;
• Enhancing parenting and relationship skills; and
• Expanding health literacy.
The $6 million grant will provide funding for:
• Help Me Grow Washington: Provides developmental screening for children;
• Futures Without Violence Safety Card Intervention: Provides support for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors;
• GRADS: Statewide high-school program that supports pregnant and parenting teens, including child care; and
• Community programs and interventions that support good outcomes for teens and children — examples include home visiting or mentoring programs.
The grant partners are the Washington State Department of Health, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Attorney General’s Office, and WithinReach, a non-profit organization that connects families and individuals to resources in Washington state. The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs will also be involved.
“Protecting Washington families must be a top priority,” said Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. “This grant helps connect families to the services they need to thrive.”
“Improving the health of our communities takes a group effort,” said Washington Secretary of Health John Wiesman. “I’m confident that this strong group of partners, working together, will have a real impact on the health of teen parents in these communities, and on their children’s health as well. Getting families off to a good start makes our state a healthier place today and will pay off for generations to come.”
“We know that pregnancy is a big reason why students drop out of school,” said Randy Dorn, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “But, those students need to know that pregnancy doesn’t mean that their education has to end. This grant will give them access to education, which is the key for them to be successful in their lives.”
“WithinReach is proud to receive funding to support our early child development work focusing on counties with high teen pregnancy rates,” said Alison Carl White, Executive Director of WithinReach. “We will be able to expand our Help Me Grow program and deepen relationships developed through WashingTeenHelp.org.”
The project runs from 2013-2017.
The project builds on work done through the 2010-2013 federal Support for Pregnant and Parenting Teens and Women grant. The grant was designed to improve services and public awareness for pregnant and parenting women who experience domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.