Momma Moments is a peer-to-peer support and strengths-based program at Choices for Youth (CFY) for young pregnant and parenting women ages 16-29, created in response to a clearly identified service gap in our community. We heard and observed that there was no formalized process of systems coordination for young mothers who were dealing with complex challenges with child protection services, legal aid, the justice system, and more. Momma Moments was created to directly address the social determinants of health and provide vulnerable young mothers with the wrap-around supports and tools they needed to navigate these complexities and make positive life choices for themselves and their children.
A key program principle is the peer-to-peer model, which reduces social isolation and instills the belief that mothers can and will overcome individual challenges. Four weekly group meetings are offered at three locations, at which time a meal and on-site child minding is provided. Program content includes education and training on topics such as nutrition, budgeting, health, and child care. Additionally, mothers are supported in accessing resources like child care benefits, income support, and navigating the justice system. They are also connected to the Downtown Health Collaborative, which provides barrier-free access to integrated primary and mental healthcare services, delivered by a trauma-informed, interdisciplinary team.
For over a decade, Momma Moments has promoted positive outcomes for young families by contributing to reduced rates of child apprehension, housing insecurity, and emergency healthcare service usage, while simultaneously supporting mothers to complete high school and secure employment.
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