Kornerstone Teen Mom Program of Barry County has been awarded a $28,817 General Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention grant from the Children's Trust Fund (CTF), Missouri's Foundation for Child Abuse Prevention. Grant funding is for fiscal year 2013.
"We are very excited to have the opportunity to provide such comprehensive services for expectant teens in our area with support from the Children's Trust Fund," said Marlene Whitham, Kornerstone director. "We feel strongly that the focus of doula services to mothers along with intensive follow-up post-delivery can help prevent child abuse and neglect."
Doula services will be provided by two part-time certified doulas working through the Kornerstone Teen Mom Program. Doulas are trained labor companions who provide physical and emotional support for mothers and their partners during labor and delivery.
"This will be more intensive, comprehensive services for each teen in the program," said Whitham. "Services will include the creation of a birth plan before delivery, the doulas presence throughout labor and delivery and follow-up appointments to ensure mother and infant bonding and screening for postpartum depression.
"This will include more screening services during the pregnancy and post-postpartum," added Whitham.
Doula services for expectant teens enrolled in the Kornerstone program will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said Whitham. Services will continue until the baby reaches 6 months of age.
"The advocacy, emotional and physical support services provided for each teen on an individual basis will aide in reducing the likelihood of child abuse and neglect for babies born to young mothers," said Whitham.
The Teen Mom Program will continue to provide information and education throughout the pregnancy, transportation to doctor appointments and other support services.
"Each teen will be required to participate in doula services," said Whitham. "We know that some teens will choose not to participate, but all of the teens who take part in our program will receive doula services."
Kornerstone's Teen Mom program was founded in Shell Knob six years ago. The program helps area teens receive prenatal care and parenting training and encourages students to continue their education. Some choose to pursue a GED and others take part in college courses after graduating high school.
For more information, to make a referral or to support the Kornerstone Teen Mom Program of Barry County, call 417-858-2887 or visit kornerstoneinc.org.
CTF does not receive general revenue funding from the state to support prevention activities. Funding is provided through dedicated fees on marriage licenses and vital records, volunteer contributions designated on Missouri State Income Tax Returns, sales of the speciality CTF license plates, general donations, interest income from the fund and other grants.