Best Venerable Program for Pregnant and Parenting Teens | Best of Chicago 2012 | City Life | Chicago Reader

Best Venerable Program for Pregnant and Parenting Teens 

Project Hope

For 32 years Marillac, a west-side social service center, has been working to strengthen the bond between teen parents and their children. Home visitors help pregnant teens get regular prenatal care, and doulas assist the teens during labor and delivery. After the child is born, staff serve as "friends and guidance counselors" for the new moms. Executive director Maureen Hallagan says the approach has made a difference: teens in the program have lower rates of cesarean sections and higher rates of breast-feeding than other teen moms, and more of them return to school. The teens are from East and West Garfield Park, North Lawndale, and Austin, where the need for such support is great—for decades the neighborhoods have had high rates of poverty, teen pregnancy, and infant mortality.

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