Pregnant teen facility planned - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pregnant teen facility planned

April 7, 2006

Albany -- Georgia has the seventh highest teen pregnancy rate in the country. Many of these teen moms have no family support and no place to live while raising their babies. That's why Phoebe Putney and Liberty House want to start a Second Chance Home.

Teens can live there and get good medical care and support for themselves and their babies.

Westover High School students Amanda Newton and Takosha Lockett are new moms. "It was pretty shocking because I didn't expect it," said Amanda Newton.

"I didn't know how I was going to tell my momma, and I just started crying," said Takosha Lockett.

Both of them had premature babies, who needed a lot of medical care. Luckily, their families are supportive.

Amanda's already back in school, and Takosha is going back next week. But it's not easy. "When he's up at night, and then trying to get up to go to the school in the morning.

Trying to support him. "Even though I do have my mom's help, it's still hard," says Amanda.

Many teenage moms are shunned by their families and even kicked out of the house. Now, there's nowhere for them to go to find help and shelter in this area. "There's not a second chance home here southwest Georgia. There are a number of homes throughout the state, but again this will be a first for this area," says Network of Trust Director Angie Barber.

Phoebe Putney's Network of Trust helps teen moms. The Network of Trust and Liberty House are asking the City of Albany to help open a Second Chance home, where teenage moms can live for up to two years and learn how to be productive citizens and good parents. "As the goals are to help them remain in school, to be successful young women and at the same time increasing their parenting skills," said Barber.

Half of all teenage moms get pregnant again within two years. And 53% rely on government programs to survive. But the ones who live at Second Chance homes have much brighter futures. "You see an increase in graduation rate, a decrease in the second pregnancy rate. You see a tremendous increase in the socio-economic advantages," said Barber.

And that not only helps the new moms, but also all of us since 1.2 billion tax dollars are spent each year supporting Georgia's teenaged mothers and their families.

There are ten Second Chance homes in Georgia. The closest is in Thomasville. It will cost about half a million dollars to open the home and start up the program. Then, it costs about $340,000 a year to operate a Second Chance home.

That money would come from federal and state grants as well as the hospital and city.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=SecondChance/Murchi