• February 2006
  • Vol. 7, No. 1

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Parent Empowerment Program 2 for Young Mothers

A unique program in the Bronx, New York, combines parenting education, social support, and mental health services to strengthen the parenting skills of young mothers at risk for child maltreatment.

Teen and young adult mothers and mothers-to-be are referred by the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, Montefiore Medical Center clinics, and other community and social services agencies to the Parent Empowerment Program 2 (PEP 2), where they receive weekly parenting classes and individual and family therapy. The classes last for 6 months, providing opportunities for the participants to bond with each other and the staff. PEP 2 staff meet one-on-one with mothers to help them set personal goals and create a plan of individualized services, referrals, and follow-up.

PEP 2 is a program of the J.E. and Z.B. Butler Child Advocacy Center at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore. The Butler Center provides medical, mental health, and social services, working closely with families to evaluate and treat victims of child abuse and neglect. Full evaluations, medical examinations, and referrals are available to the children of PEP 2 participants if there is a concern that they have been abused.

Besides its setting in a fully certified medical model child advocacy center, PEP 2 incorporates a number of other components that contribute to its strength. These include:

  • Outreach through many referral sources
  • Experienced staff who have a long history with the program
  • A thorough intake process, including home visits
  • Use of a personal goal-setting instrument
  • Incentives for attendance
  • Provision of mental health, medical, legal, and case management services
  • Graduation for those who complete the program
  • Follow-up by staff

Evaluation of PEP 2 is currently in process, involving both intervention groups (those receiving direct mental health services at the Child Advocacy Center) and comparison groups (those receiving referrals for mental health services). Process and outcome evaluation results are expected to demonstrate how this unique program, with its focus on building a strong social support system, educating parents, setting personal goals, and providing access to mental health and medical services, helps young mothers and their children achieve the right start in family life.

For more information, contact:

Karel R. Amaranth, MA, Executive Director
J.E. and Z.B. Butler Child Advocacy Center
Children’s Hospital at Montefiore
3314 Steuben Avenue
Bronx, NY 10467
Phone: 718-920-5833
Email: kamarant@montefiore.org

The Parent Empowerment Program 2 was funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant 90-CA-1690, under the Children’s Bureau Priority Area: 2001 B3: Field-Initiated Demonstration Projects Advancing the State of the Art in the Child Abuse and Neglect Field. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau Grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from official Children's Bureau site visits.

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