Former LPS teen mom highlights need to keep daycare services in schools

LPS teen mom emphasizes need for daycare in high schools.
LPS teen mom emphasizes need for daycare in high schools.(Ellis Wiltsey)
Updated: May. 26, 2021 at 9:45 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Balancing high school and a baby can be complicated for many different reasons.

Lincoln Public Schools has programming in place aimed at aiding new parents.

LPS evaluates the need for these programs on a year-to-year basis. The one currently operating out of Lincoln North Star will be closed starting in the fall of 2021, due to the lack of enrollment.

The district says it’s only aware of one student who would be utilizing the program.

“It’s simply not economically feasible to continue to run that program for one student child,” said Matt Larson, with LPS.

The costs associated with the program include operating a childcare center and staffing. To keep those up and running it needs to have a certified teacher and multiple paraprofessionals to keep the correct ratios in place.

For Hannah Fischer, the program was vital in getting her through her high school years.

Her daughter Kendall was born when she was a sophomore at North Star, at just 15-years-old.

“To have her go to daycare at the same school I was, it allowed me to not only know my child was taken care of, it allowed me to stay on the dance team and make it to class on time,” Fischer said.

LPS says the one student who would have used the program at North Star next year has coordinated with the district to have her child enrolled in the daycare at another school.

Fischer says she had an outstanding support system as a teen mom, but many in her situation were not afforded the same luxuries.

“Kind of a big assumption to make that they’d be able to take their child to a different location and make it to class on time,” Fischer said. “I can’t imagine how stressful that would be.”

Right now, LPS offers these services at Lincoln High, Northeast, and the Bryan Community Focus Program. Those schools currently have anywhere from six to eight babies in a school year.

Along with daycare services, the programming also offers training and resources for young parents, male and female.

“In the parenting program we will offer classes, in parenting, child development, and connect students to community resources,” Dr. Larson said.

The district said if more babies were to need services again at Lincoln North Star, it’s possible the program would come back.

“Not every parent has that resource to be able to commute to two different places,” Fischer said. “It makes life simpler when it’s already a complex situation, to begin with.”

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