Daycare approved for teen parents at new Harding
BRIDGEPORT — With no discussion, the school board unanimously put the wheels in motion Monday to create a day care center for teen parents at the new Harding High School.
The vote followed several committee meetings where plans for the three-classroom facility was discussed.
A Request For Proposals will go out for a licensed day care provider to run the center and learning laboratory for young parents, using state and federal funds.
There will be 24 slots, eight each for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. While preference will be given for teen parents attending Harding, slots would be open to other city students, teachers and the community as available.
“The goal is to keep our young parents engaged in high school, attending on a daily basis,” said Natisha Vidal, a school social worker who works with teenage parents in the district.
This fall, three teens dropped out of school because they did not have child care, Vidal said.
Although the teenage birthrate in Bridgeport and the state has been on the decline, the city currently outpaces the state. There are currently 41 teen parents — boys and girls — enrolled in Bridgeport schools.
Statewide, nearly 2,800 children were born to teen mothers in 2008, a rate of about 22.6 births per 1,000 Connecticut girls and women ages 14 through 18. By 2014, that number had declined to 1,420, a rate of 11.5 per 1,000 — a drop of 49 percent.
The agency winning the bid would be responsible for getting funding and providing slots free or on a sliding scale fee to parents. The district’s only cost would be providing the space.
Vidal said the district has long provided supportive services to teen parents enrolled in Bridgeport Public Schools but has not had a school-based day care for at least nine years.