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Grant would aid pregnant teenagers

May 22, 2001

Grant would aid pregnant teenagers



By SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Health Department has applied for a grant of $1.25 million over five years to help pregnant teenagers in Hancock and Boonsboro.

Services provided elsewhere in Washington County can be provided in Hancock and Boonsboro if the Health Department receives the grant, Washington County Health Officer William Christoffel said Monday.

The Health Department will know by July if the federal Office of Adolescent Pregnancy has awarded the grant of $250,000 a year, Christoffel said.

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The aim of the program is to help pregnant teenagers both during pregnancy and after the birth and to encourage teenage parents to finish school and to reduce repeat pregnancies, Christoffel said.

The program would have a substance abuse element since some pregnant teenagers have said that is a contributing factor in pregnancies, he said.

Pregnant teenagers will be encouraged to use department services to learn what to do and not to do. They also will also be encouraged to use other department services to learn what to expect as parents, which could be important in preventing abuse and neglect, he said.

They also will be offered help in finding jobs and people to take care of the children while the parents finish high school, he said.

Christoffel asked for, and received, letters from the mayors of Hancock and Boonsboro endorsing the grant request.

"The problem of pregnant and parenting adolescents in the western part of Washington County is a very real problem for the teens involved, their parents and the Hancock community," wrote Hancock Mayor Daniel A. Murphy. "The town of Hancock is working very closely with the Health Department in developing this proposal. The Town of Hancock is willing to assist the Health Department in outreaching and educating the community on the need for the program,"

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