“I think of Children’s Friend as an agency where staff are excited about their jobs and look forward to coming to work each day. We all share the mutual goal of providing supports and services to improve the overall health and welfare of children and families.”
- Janice Girard, R.N., LICSW, Director , School Age Mothers
Make a difference. Join our Team!
- Children’s Friend, Inc., has an opening for a part time licensed social worker (three days) for its school-based program for pregnant and parenting teens. Requires experience in individual counseling, group work, and case management with culturally diverse adolescents. Parenting groups and life skills a plus! Position to start in August of 2013. Please send or fax your resume to: Jan Girard, Program Director, Children’s Friend, Inc., 21 Cedar Street, Worcester, MA. 01609. FAX- 508-856-9481.
- Children’s Friend has an opening for an I/T/Preschool certified teacher for its School Age Mothers (SAM) Program Early Learning Center. Must have minimum of Associates Degree in EC/working on bachelors. Experience with culturally diverse population required. A strong interest and commitment to the education and well being of children a must! Position to start in August of 2013. Please email or fax resume to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 508-856-9481.
Children’s Friend is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.
School Age Mothers
For 44 years, Children’s Friend has been collaborating with the Worcester Public Schools to offer the School Age Mothers (SAM) Program. At the SAM program, pregnant and parenting teens can continue their education at the Gerald Creamer Center, an alternative school of the Worcester Public Schools, while learning about pregnancy and parenting issues that are important for mother and child. The SAM program allows individuals to share with, and get support from, other pregnant teens and an understanding and knowledgeable staff. Our goals are to enable young parents to stay in school and graduate, improve teen mother and child health, and promote strong parenting skills to assure the welfare of both parents and their children.
You are eligible if:
- You are pregnant
- You live in Worcester and attend Worcester Public Schools
- You are under 22 years of age, and
- You have not yet earned your high school diploma
The professional and knowledgeable staff at the School Age Mothers Program includes the SAM Director, who is a registered nurse and licensed independent clinical social worker, three other licensed social workers, a registered nurse who has many years of experience in maternal and child health and is a certified lactation consultant, and child care staff. All SAM Early Learning staff are licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (DEEC) after completing early childhood education and experience requirements. All staff members have extensive experience working with teen mothers and multicultural families.
Services offered through the SAM Program
SAM offers an alternative school program during pregnancy. The school teachers and SAM staff work closely with the students’ guidance counselors and home schools to assure full credit for the year. Seniors may graduate with their own class and receive their high school diplomas. Classes are small and allow students to continue with their regular school subjects without interruption. Instruction is offered in a friendly, helpful way to meet individual needs.
A special time is set aside each school day for classes about pregnancy and parenthood. Students learn how to care for themselves and their children before, during, and after pregnancy and how to develop good health habits. They attend prenatal classes to help prepare for labor and delivery. The health program also includes special films, speakers from the community, discussion groups, nutrition classes, and pre and postnatal exercise sessions. The health coordinator is always available during school hours to meet with students individually to talk about personal health needs.
Social Work and Counseling Services
Licensed social workers are available every day for individual and group counseling to help the teens deal with the emotional issues related to early child bearing. They also serve, as needed, as case managers to help the girls obtain medical care, housing, financial and legal assistance, and day care.
Early Learning Center
After the baby is born, each new mother has a four-week maternity leave from school. When she returns she can enroll her child in the SAM Early Learning Center. The Center is a warm, friendly place, with bilingual (Spanish/English), bicultural staff, where mother and baby can learn about each other and grow together. The staff monitors each baby’s growth and development and answers the young moms’ questions about infant and toddler care. An early literacy program teaches teen mothers the importance of parent child interaction through reading, music, language, and play activities.
SAM Summer Connection
Since 2008, the SAM Summer Connection program has been offered to keep SAM teen mothers connected and involved over the long summer vacation. The program has been possible due to the support of the Rev. Paul D. Kennedy Fund at the Fallon Clinic Foundation. The teens and their babies meet with staff twice a week for five weeks. They participate in group counseling and parenting classes, learn about early literacy, and take field trips that expose them to new experiences.
In 2011 – 2012, the SAM Program
- Worked with 72 pregnant and parenting teens
- Provided loving care and early education to 38 infants, toddlers, and pre-schoolers
- Continued the incorporation of early literacy into the SAM curriculum.
- In May 2012, 22 SAM seniors received their high school diplomas
SAM Health Education and Social Services office is located at the Granite Street School at 120 Granite Street in Worcester, Massachusetts. The SAM Early Learning Center is located within Girls, Inc. at 125 Providence Street in Worcester. You can reach the SAM office by calling Janice Girard, RN, LICSW, (508) 856-7373 and the SAM Early Learning Center by calling (508) 856-0330, or email SAM@childrensfriend.org.
The school is open Monday through Friday from 7:15 am –1:15 pm. SAM office hours are 8:00 am –3:00 pm Monday through Friday. SAM staff are available Monday through Friday from 7:00 am – 3:00 pm.