No matter what age a woman becomes a mother, having a baby can be an overwhelming responsibility. This is especially true for teenagers who find themselves on the path to motherhood. Third Way Center strives to educate and empower young mothers to take charge of their lives and provide the best start for their children with our Teen Mother Program, a component of our Bannock girls program. Currently, the Teen Mother Program through Third Way Center is the only one of its kind in the entire state of Colorado. Our experienced and compassionate staff works with young women typically ranging in age from 15-19 to provide guidance, education, and therapy as they begin the journey of parenting.
Many of the young moms in our program come to Third Way Center with limited or zero financial resources, and a number of them also have severe mental health and/or behavioral issues that have led them to be committed to the state Division of Youth Services (DYS). Because of this, our program places a great deal of emphasis on providing mental health services. Each teen in the program receives several hours of therapy each week from a team of Master Level Therapists. This can include Family Therapy, Individual Therapy, and Group Therapy.Additionally, the young women in the program can participate in a parenting group, which allows them to share their stories with other teen mothers and support one another as they discover their independence and build confidence in their parenting abilities.
In addition to therapy, the youth in our Teen Mother Program learn how to care for themselves and their babies in a safe, stable environment. Bannock House, one of our five treatment centers in the Denver area, is a dedicated all-girls facility that can accommodate up to 14 female youth and 9 children at one time. Unlike foster care or a women’s shelter, our Teen Mother Program focuses on future employment and success of young women by making education mandatory. Teens in our program are required to attend classes at the Joan Farley Academy to obtain their high school diploma or GED, and also must maintain a full-time schedule of either school, work, or a combination of both. TWC helps make daycare arrangements so that the teen mothers in our program can fulfill these requirements without scheduling issues.
Teen mothers in the program also participate in the Independent Living Skills group at Third Way Center to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary life skills for living on their own and taking care of themselves and their young children. By gaining practice and experience with grocery shopping, meal planning, cooking, and cleaning, young women in the program can confidently provide good nutrition and a clean home for their babies once they begin to live on their own.
Third Way Center’s Bannock House is the only facility of its kind that provides mental health treatment for teen mothers and their babies, as well as equips them with the essential skills and training they will need to find employment and run a stable household. It is our goal to break the cycle of intergenerational abuse that these young mothers have experienced in their own lives so that they can have the opportunity to make their future- and the future of their children- brighter.