Washington State Awarded Grant to Help Teen Parents and Families
Connecting pregnant and parent teens to available education services is crucial for them to succeed. A large-scale federal grant recently received by Washington state will help.
The $6 million grant, known as the Expectant and Parenting Teens, Women, Fathers and Their Families project, will help teens primarily in four counties with high teen pregnancy and birth rates: Yakima, Franklin, Grant and Adams. The project will run from 2013 to 2017.
As part of the grant, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction will receive $255,908 a year for four years for its Graduation, Reality, and Dual-Role Skills program. GRADS helps teens prepare for graduation, as well as increase positive parenting skills, academic achievement and economic independence. GRADS programs include on-site or nearby child care.
“Teen parents that have access to onsite childcare are more likely to come to school and graduate,” said Randy Dorn, superintendent of public instruction. “This grant will enhance GRADS programs across the state and make it possible for our teens to have access to high quality childcare.”
The money will be spent in a variety of ways, including small grants for GRADS child-care centers. In addition, OSPI will hire a GRADS program specialist. The specialist will focus on:
- Improving GRADS child-care centers by participating in a rating system of each center by the Department of Early Learning;
- Ensuring access to quality, sustainable and culturally appropriate early learning services;
- Facilitating new GRADS programs statewide; and
- Increasing the knowledge, access, and utilization of culturally and linguistically appropriate education, health, and social service resources.
The specialist also will help facilitate partnerships addressing policy and systems barriers related to students in the GRADS program. Through the partnerships, services dedicated to promoting child and family social, emotional, and physical health should continue after the grant ends.