A new Cedars program could mean a new beginning for pregnant teens

A new Cedars program could mean a new beginning for pregnant teens
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 4:17 PM CDT|Updated: May. 22, 2023 at 6:47 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Cedars Home for Children, a non-profit that provides services for kids experiencing homelessness, is expanding it’s horizons and will begin providing service for parenting and pregnant teens.

The president of Cedars, Jim Blue, said he has seen a gap in serving teenagers who are pregnant or parenting. However, the programs that are already in place for teens at Cedars, weren’t able to provide the care for a pregnant teen or young mom. Blue knew there needed to be a change.

“What we are trying to do is to prepare these kids over a short period of time to successfully move into the community,” Blue said.

Construction for the new 7,000 square foot facility, also known as the Carriage House, will begin in August and will be built on Cedars’ campus at 66th Street and Pioneers Boulevard with many amenities to assist these teens in need.

“Kitchen, washers and dryers, an area for the kids to receive information on WIC and other community resources, certainly prenatal care and parenting skills will be woven deeply into the fabric of the Carriage House,” Blue said.

Additionally, there will be apartments where these individuals can stay up to about 120 days or until they are ready to branch out into the community and live on their own. In total, it will cost about $3 million. The facility will be paid for in part by a $1 million grant through the state of Nebraska.

“If we can give them a leg up and a path for the positive, not be dependent on this state, be on their own, anything we can do to help that is a benefit,” Jana Hughes, District 24 senator said.

Another chunk of the money is coming from Lancaster County.

“This is the kind of investment in our teens and our new parents that is really going to pay dividends for this community for a very long time,” Sean Flowerday, Lancaster County Commissioner for District one said. “I formerly worked in child welfare and I can tell you from personal experience that the hardest thing to find a home for is a baby with a baby,” he said.

To get the rest of the money to build they are actively fundraising, but staff say they are hopeful they will reach their goal by August just in time to start the building process. The Carriage House will only be available for kids ages 13 to 19. Staff say there is already a waiting list.