Texas State University has received $670,000 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to implement the Strengthening Relationships/Strengthening Families program, a relationship education program for pregnant and parenting adolescents.
The program, administered by Michelle Toews and Ani Yazedjian, associate professors in the School of Family and Consumer Sciences, will provide pregnant and parenting adolescents with critical relationship skills.
“These federal funds will give Texas State students the opportunity to help young people in Central Texas develop the relationship, job, and financial skills necessary to be better parents,” said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett. “This program is another example of the good that Bobcats are doing in their community, making a real difference in the lives of Texas families.”
The program will provide financial management education in order to strengthen young families because Toews and Yazedjian have found many of the conflicts adolescent parents experience revolve around money.
“The Strengthening Relationships/Strengthening Families program will provide pregnant and parenting adolescents with relationship education, as well as job readiness and financial management skills that will ultimately enhance their well-being and strengthen their families,” Toews said.
Previous research has found adolescent pregnancy and parenting often result in poorer psychological functioning, higher levels of relationship instability, and an increased risk of intimate partner violence. In addition, SR/SF will incorporate job readiness skills because adolescent parents are less likely to graduate from high school, more likely to be unemployed, and more likely to receive government assistance.
To reach the goal of strengthening families, four SR/SF Facilitators will implement the program during the school day with the assistance of undergraduate and graduate interns at Texas State from a variety of disciplines. The program will be delivered to adolescents enrolled in Pregnancy, Education, and Parenting (PEP) programs located in Central Texas each week over the course of the school year. These sessions will cover topics such as healthy relationships, communication skills, conflict resolution strategies, job readiness skills, and financial literacy.