The Texas Baptist Home for Children – Waxahachie campus recently opened the doors to a new service for young expectant moms. Specifically, the special ministry will serve pregnant girls who are in the state’s foster care system.
“This is the very first of its kind for us,” TBHC president Jason Curry told the Sun. “This is unique. It’s for the young ladies in foster care. What we are doing is building community services for those young women.”
Across Texas, 18% of all girls in foster care are pregnant, he said, noting an across-the-board figure of 4% of all girls in Ellis County junior or high schools being pregnant.
“There is absolutely a need,” he said of the data.
The program participants will live together in one of the TBHC campus residences, which will house from three to four girls (and their babies once born) at a time, along with the house parents.
“We are looking to expand (the program),” Curry said, indicating the Waxahachie ministry will serve as a pilot for TBHC. “We’re launching it here, and we will see if this is something we can do (in other locations).”
As the Waxahachie-based program gets off the ground, the community is encouraged to help support it through donations of diapers, wipes, any sizes of baby clothes, maternity clothes and other items used by mothers and their infants. Clothing donations may be new or gently used. Access TBHC’s Amazon wish list via its website at https://tbhc.org.
The Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce recently held a ribbon cutting for the residence, which featured welcoming common areas and individual living spaces for the girls and their babies.
“I’m just so excited for our community to have such a lifechanging service available for these young women in need,” said Shana Dunn, chamber investor relations manager.
Laurie Henthorn, TBHC donor engagement manager, also expressed her excitement about the program, noting it will include the teaching of parenting and other skills. Education and finishing school will be a primary focus, and there will be help provided in securing a job. As well, if the child’s father wants to be involved, he can, although there is no residential component.
“They will know how to take care of their babies,” she said of one of the program’s key goals.
Program supervisor, Heather Coe, told the Sun the house would have its first young woman in residence the day after the ribbon cutting – and noted a statewide dearth of foster care options for pregnant girls. In fact, the girl transferring into the TBHC program was currently being housed in a behavioral health facility – even while having no such diagnosis. It was, however, the only available, residential foster care option that would take in the pregnant girl when she went into the system.
“We are very happy to get her out of there,” Coe said.
The girl was to be welcomed into the home by TBHC house parents, in this case a husband and wife team with more than seven years of experience in foster care and who have personally fostered more than 60 children to date, Coe said.
“We love the community support,” she said of the large crowd that had gathered for the ribbon cutting. “Everyone we’ve approached about this service has been so helpful.”
TBHC has served the community with foster care and adoption services since 1910. For more information, visit its website at https://tbhc.org.