Family Services of the Merrimack Valley is one of only seven agencies across the state to share in $3.5 million to help expectant and parenting adolescents in communities with teen birth rates higher than the state average.
The money for the agency, serving Lawrence and Methuen, comes from the Massachusetts Pregnant and Parenting Teen Initiative. It is an effort of the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services and Department of Public Health working with the Department of Transitional Assistance. According to the state, the COVID-19 pandemic has created significant strain on adolescent parents in terms of employment, food security and education.
“Programs offer case management that supports both young parents and their children to attain educational and employment goals, improve access to health services, support the development of young children and promote healthy relationships between co-parents and between parents and their young children,” according to a statement.
Among adolescents who have participated in the program for at least six months, 58% made progress toward individualized academic and/or career goals, employment increased from 26% to 37%, 98% were enrolled in health insurance, 71% who were pregnant attended a postpartum visit in the first eight weeks after birth and contraceptive use increased from 37% to 50%.