School will offer daycare for teen moms

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Effort aimed at keeping young mothers from having to drop out of school.

By Christopher Brooke, Reporter


HILLSVILLE — Carroll educators want to give teen mothers a choice to continue school by offering “Early Head Start.”
This service involves the school system partnering with Head Start to provide daycare to the children of students at the Carroll County Education Center in Hillsville, according to Linda Dalton, director of elementary education.
“What we want to do is to offer an alternative education option for teen mothers so they can finish high school,” she explained. “Daycare is a huge challenge for moms... a teen mom, if their mom doesn’t watch the child, then what do they do?”
Carroll educators want to continue to chip away at the drop-out rate as a whole. Figures from 2010 show that Carroll County kept its overall drop-out rate down to 7 percent, below the state average of 8.2 percent.
The program as planned creates eight slots for daycare for children from six weeks up to three years old, beginning with the 2011-2012 school year this fall, Dalton said.
One classroom at the education center has been converted to a nursery. A teacher and an aide will staff the nursery, and they will receive assistance from the child care class at the high school through the intern program.
Head Start will hire the caregivers, as well as provide the formula and diapers for the children, Dalton said.
Not only could the program offer peace of mind that the child is being cared for, it could also help the teenager secure a better future by completing her public education.
Transporting the children to the education center will be the responsibility of the student, which could be a challenge for some of them, Dalton acknowledged. “The mom doesn’t have to do anything but bring the baby.”
Educators will give students the option to visit with their children during the day, she said. The students may be taking classes at the high school or enrolled in classes just upstairs from the nursery.
This will build on the work of the Head Start and the prekindergarten classes by preparing the children enrolled in daycare to start their own education.
It would be easier to pattern this new daycare program after another school system’s, but Dalton said she hasn’t learned of any other divisions  offering it.
The school system will take applications until Aug. 8.

• For more information, call Dalton at 730-3200.