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Education

Austin ISD Says Child Care in Schools Is Key to the Success of Teen Parents

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Janine, flickr.com
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More than 150 teen parents are taking advantage of the Teen Parent program in four Austin public high schools this year.

For more than 15 years, the City of Austin and Austin ISD have partnered to provide services for teen parents in Austin public schools. The program helps at least 150 students with children at Eastside Memorial, Lanier, Reagan and Travis high schools throughout the school year and includes academic support, along with child care, parent education workshops and other social services. 

“You know, it’s hard enough being a teenager, but when a student does have a child at that age, the challenges just increase tenfold," said Rose Coleman, who coordinates teen parent services for Austin ISD. “Having children are expensive, so a lot of our young parents are trying to work as much as they can while they’re in school, while they’re taking care of a child. Sort of the normal things of being an adolescent, coming from low-income background, it’s just multiplied when you have a child.”

The city has helped fund the program since the late 1990s, allocating nearly $180,000 this year.

The program has seen success, especially when it comes to dropout prevention. Last year, 84 percent of students in the program completed the school year.

Graduation rates remained higher for teen parents who used campus child care services. Last year, the graduation rate among that group was 98 percent. The graduation rate among teen parent students who did not use the child care services at schools was 76 percent. 

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