CISGG couldn’t do the impactful work that it performs without key partnerships in the community. One of CISGG’s most critical partnerships is with (the) Children’s Home Society.
CISGG’s partnership with CHS began when both organizations aimed to assist pregnant, young women at the Middle College at Bennett. During this time, 25% of the student population were pregnant, teen girls. CISGG, CHS and YWCA collaborated with the Middle College at Bennett to provide extensive wrap around services to pregnant, teen girls, on campus.
At the time, the YWCA was already present at the Middle College at Bennett, working with teen mothers, providing them with mentors. CHS was able to extend mentorship and provide family life education services. Through workshops, CHS educated the girls on self-confidence, self-esteem and women’s empowerment. Many of the girls were struggling academically and had a difficult time staying in school. CHS helped the girls stay in school, in part, by making sure the mothers were educated, that they knew about post secondary education and that they identified their personal goals and determined options for college. CISGG was the connector of any other identified critical resources to the girls; such as, tutors, mentors and addressing basic needs.
Since this partnership, CISGG has been the point of contact for CHS in schools like Smith and Dudley High where there are high teen pregnancy rates in Guilford County. CISGG and CHS know that teen pregnancy is one of the number one causes of high school drop-out. At these schools, CISGG provides wrap around services to students, in jeopardy of dropping out, one of which is teen parent education. The two organizations work together to determine what additional resources teen parents are in need of, that improve their lives, which in turn leads them to staying in school and graduating. The Children’s Home Society provides teen parents with guidance and support to maintain good academic standing. CISGG really believes that the Children’s Home Society is an excellent resource, enabling our teen parents to stay in school and graduate.
CHS addresses teen parenting, teen pregnancy, and teen pregnancy prevention. Their department, The Family Life Council, provides education for pregnant and parenting teens, parenting children living under two roofs, parents and teachers partnering to impact child development, fatherhood involvement and teen pregnancy prevention. CHS has several programs that focus on teen parenting, some of which are: Good Beginnings, Smart Girls (offered in English and Spanish), and Wise Guys (offered in English and Spanish), an award-winning program. CHS's programs aim to break the cycles of teen pregnancy.
CHS also seeks to educate the community about teen pregnancy and eliminate some of the stigmas associated. Teen pregnancy is often a result of statutory rape, that generally goes unreported. Many of these pregnancies that are a result of statutory rape are happening in mentally, sexually and emotionally abusive and coercive relationships. Teen pregnancy is often a result of environmental impact; lack of healthcare resources and lack of positive relationships, for example. There is also correlation between low socioeconomic status, minorities and an increase in teen pregnancies. Many teen moms need cognitive behavioral health therapy. Some teen mothers cannot read. One of CHS’s goals is to equip these moms with resources so that they are able to help their children.
Ultimately, CHS’s focus is on parenting, they provide parent education. CHS ensures that parents are supported and have what they need in order to maintain a strong family. They connect with parents and build relationships with them, often doing home visits. They believe that every child has the right to a safe, permanent loving family. They offer counsel to parents in the community, a lot of families whose fathers are incarcerated, families who are in transition or who have a family member suffering from substance abuse. They also work with parents who are going through a separation or divorce or just parents who are looking for advice on parenting. CHS also addresses the circumstance of grandparents raising grandchildren. Many grandparents are often not well equipped to help students with their studies. CHS also connects adolescents to caring, loving adults, fostering adoption. Some of the things CHS focuses on is: discipline, self-improvement, empowerment and parenting with a purpose.
One of the ways that they measure their performance and success is through the feedback that they receive from their clients. Surveys to parents allow them to measure the results of the parent experiences as a result of participating in CHS workshops and trainings. Also, CHS participates in home visits where they interact with families and learn about their experiences with CHS. Moreover, through a quality improvement team, they are able to measure the specific outcomes of the programs that they operate, they process data carefully to make certain that their programs are achieving the goals that they intend on achieving.
CHS continues to be a leader in its industry, having been operating for 100 years. They strive to be the best that they can be in their field. They have set a precedent and established an expectation of their quality work. They improve by staying on the cutting edge of research, using best practices, staying connected and being held accountable. They excel at sustaining people who are passionate about their work, people who are skilled and competent. They hold high expectations for their staff.
CHS and CISGG are an excellent example of agencies coming together in order to achieve a common goal. The work that they do, together, is absolutely necessary for teen pregnancy prevention and successful teen pregnancy, in our schools.