Brooklyn Young Mothers' Collective

Award Recipients - 2005

Benita Miller Johnston, Founder

The Brooklyn Childcare Collective (Collective) works with pregnant and parenting teenagers.  It provides legal information, advocacy training and social services support in order to prevent parent-child separations, child neglect and/or abuse as well as repeat pregnancies.   The Collective educated adolescent parents about effective parenting practices and helps them move toward independent living by providing developmentally appropriate resources, referrals and mentoring.  In addition, the collective is organizing young parents around education, housing entitlement, and the appropriateness of services offered by the child welfare system and its contract agencies.

The Collective is developing a model for engaging pregnant and parenting teenagers that combines direct services, advocacy and community service.  Its in-school program addresses topics such as sexual/reproductive health education, childbirth, family court consequences, special educations services and Title IX protections.  The young women receive legal and education, emotional support, one-on-one crisis counseling, medical and social service referrals.  Several young women have been trained as lead organizers to expand recruitment and plan activities that deepen the Collective’s relationship with the community.  Activates include a conference and handbook outlining education rights and Department of Education rules as well as brown bag lunches between the teenage woman and judge in Family Court to discuss teen domestic violence.  The collective also seeks to address systemic issues in the child welfare system.

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