WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — My Aunt’s House, a residential multi-month program meant to help homeless teenage mothers at The Children’s Home, is closing it’s doors by year’s end.
Federal funding for the program is not being renewed.
The program started 5 years ago thanks to a 1 million dollar grant.
It is the only comprehensive, residential program for homeless pregnant teenage mothers and their children in Forsyth County.
In 5 years more than 40 mothers were helped as they finished school, found jobs and learned to become self sufficient parents.
Jean Irvin, Chief Operating Officer for The Children’s Home says while other agencies have vowed to help clients find different resources, “Our fear is while we try as hard as we can we will continue to have young women who don’t have the appropriate support systems they need to be successful with pregnancy and children.”
Christine Wanous, the director of Forsyth County’s Nurse Family Partnership says, “It is really sad because it was a very important asset to young teens.”
Wanous says last year Forsyth County had more than 140 births to mothers under 18.
She says many needed some kind of assistance.
“Some young women have a hard time finding housing or keeping housing during pregnancy so its a resource that is going to be missed,” says Wanous.
The Children’s Home says while it’s confident other programs will be able to help the mothers, losing federal funding for My Aunt’s House is a prime example of how federal budget cuts really do impact real people.
Officials worry about other programs that could be targeted during fiscal cliff negotiations. “We are very tenuous what may be in the offing of the fiscal cliff and other issues the federal government is struggling with,” says Irvin.