Program Manager: Tracy Brookshire
Philosophy and Goal: The philosophy behind the establishment of the Oak Haven Second Chance Home is the belief that by providing a safe, stable, nurturing environment for teen mothers and their children, the negative effects of adolescent parenting can be reduced and the potential for the highest quality of life for both mother and child can be realized. The goal of the Oak Haven Second Chance Home is to provide services to teenage mothers and their children that will eliminate homelessness and unsafe living conditions, reduce child abuse and neglect, reduce the cycle of academic failure, and prevent repeat teen pregnancies. In addition, the long term goal is to break the cycle of welfare dependence through the provision of timely and appropriate services to eligible teenage mothers and their children.
Evaluation: Oak Haven Second Chance Home is closely and rigorously evaluated annually by the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential, the Department of Human Resources, and the Office of Regulatory Services. These evaluations focus on every aspect of the program including staffing, documentation, facility, and the availability of mental health services, physical health services, and educational opportunities.
Program: Oak Haven is a fully licensed Second Chance Home. Each Oak Haven resident is provided with a continuum of care, from initial referral through transition into long term independent living. Oak Haven follows a model in which a teen mother and her child individually occupy a bedroom but share larger common spaces, bathrooms, and a kitchen. Oak Haven has created a home-like setting for its residents and was innovative in the development of an operational plan that has been used by other homes.
Oak Haven provides services to teen mothers to enable them to develop the skills and knowledge to be competent parents and to lead independent lives after completion of the program.
Often times the teen mother’s own childhood experiences provide limited guidance in the formation of nurturing parent-child relationships. Many teen mothers are faced with a limited understanding of how to actively support healthy childhood growth and development. Oak Haven provides opportunities for teen mothers to gain knowledge of child development and positive parenting practices. As a result, teen mothers gain realistic expectations for their child’s developmental progress and learn how to promote this progress. Oak Haven provides the education and support teen mothers need to develop nurturing parenting practices and to establish a strong parent-child attachment.
The residents are provided with basic life skills information, counseling, money management, parenting, housekeeping, menu planning and food preparation, leisure-time activities, and transportation. Other services include training in interpersonal skill building, effective communication, decision-making, first aid, and CPR. All residents are enrolled in an academic program, receive mental health services, and drug awareness and prevention classes. Physical health needs are ensured through regular physicals and health assessments, family planning, and emergency medical treatment when needed.
The benefits for the child residents at Oak Haven are significant. Many of the babies and young children are developmentally delayed when they arrive at Oak Haven. Child development screens are conducted at program entry using the Ages and Stages Questionnaires. The ASQ assesses a child's development in the areas of communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem-solving, personal-social and social-emotional. The ASQs are completed at age-based intervals and are used to identify and address suspected developmental delays. Children with developmental delays receive immediate intervention services to address those delays, thus making a life-long difference for some of the Oak Haven children. Screening young children is an effective, efficient way to catch problems and start treatment when it does the most good—during the crucial early years when the child’s brain and body are developing so rapidly. Because developmental and social-emotional delays can be subtle and can occur in children who appear to be developing typically, most children who would benefit from early intervention are not identified until after they start school. Research underscores the importance of early intervention: developmental delays, learning disorders, and behavioral and social-emotional problems are estimated to affect 1 in every 6 children and only 20% to 30% of these children are identified as needing help before school begins. Intervention prior to kindergarten has huge academic, social, and economic benefits. Studies have shown that children who receive early treatment for developmental delays are more likely to graduate from high school, hold jobs, live independently, and avoid teen pregnancy, delinquency, and violent crime. If social-emotional problems are identified and addressed early, children are less likely to be placed in special education programs. Later in life they’re also less likely to experience school failure and unemployment. Studies show that when professionals use reliable and valid screening instruments, they are able to identify 70% to 80% of children with developmental delays.
Ninety percent of participants who stay for a minimum of six months will have an increase in their level of daily living skills and self-sufficiency in the following areas: income, job readiness/employment, transportation, education, child care, housing, health care, substance abuse, community integration, and social/mental health functioning.
Program Success in 2012: