Father Taaffe’s legacy of caring for young moms and their babies is alive and well. With the leadership of the Fostering Hope Initiative, Father Taaffe Homes Pregnancy Support Services is serving more young moms in crisis than ever before. Recently, March of Dimes, Greater Oregon Chapter, made a significant contribution in providing support for pregnant and parenting teens and young women by awarding a $12,000 grant to the Fostering Hope Initiative. This grant will support at least 30 pregnant and parenting teens and young women in Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties.

It is well documented that social, economic, and environmental conditions are significant contributors to health disparities. These social determinants also affect children’s success in school and, later, their financial self-sufficiency. Funds from the March of Dimes, Greater Oregon Chapter facilitate the young women’s enrollment into Maternal/Child Health programs to reduce toxic stress and help increase family stability and resiliency by promoting five key Strengthening Families Protective FactorsTM: Parental Resilience, Social Connections, Concrete Supports, Knowledge of Parenting and Child Development, and Social and Emotional Competence of Children.

This project helps the Fostering Hope Initiative’s Neighbor Connectors to: 1) provide outreach services to pregnant and parenting women in the target neighborhoods, 2) connect them with health care resources, including Maternal/Child Health programs such as WIC, CHIP and Medicaid (Oregon Health Plan) and 3) support them to build Strengthening Families Protective FactorsTM in their homes and neighborhoods. Services include helping the young women to find, safe, stable affordable housing in supportive neighborhoods, facilitating positive social connections, navigating referral and application processes and championing projects to create neighborhoods that are safe, healthy, nurturing places to raise children.

Fostering Hope Initiative is a Collective Impact initiative that promotes optimum child and youth development by supporting vulnerable families, encouraging positive social connections between neighbors, strengthening collaboration, intentionally pursuing quality and accountability, and advocating for family friendly public policy. First formed in 2008, the Fostering Hope Initiative and its partners continue to share a clear, common vision: Every child and youth grows up in a safe, stable, nurturing family, enjoys good health, succeeds at school, and goes on to financial self-sufficiency.

Fostering Hope Initiative was honored to be one of six spotlighted projects in the report Strengthening Supports for Young Parents and Their Children: A Focus on Low-Income Rural and Suburban American Families, published by the esteemed national organization Center for the Study of Social Policy. The report is available at http://www.cssp.org/pages/strengthening-supports-for-young-parents-and-their-children.

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