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Press Contact: Solange Gould , Health and Human Services Department, Vera Casey Collaborative, (510) 644-6854

Vera Casey Collaborative Supports Berkeley Pregnant & Parenting Teens

Berkeley, California (Wednesday, October 25, 2006) - The City of Berkeley invites the community to The Vera Casey Center Open House, to celebrate our newly-renovated building at 2246 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, on Thursday, October 26, 2006 from 4-6 pm. For the past 34 years, the Vera Casey Center has provided childcare and other support services to teen parents in the Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) so that they can continue their education. The Vera Casey Program is a collaborative effort between the City of Berkeley Public Health Division, the Berkeley/Albany YMCA Early Childhood Services, and the BUSD. This Collaborative is designed to provide comprehensive and holistic service and support to the entire family. The students receive specialized case management and coaching from Public Health Division staff; their babies receive child care and specialized developmental services provided by Berkeley/Albany YMCA Early Childhood Services staff; and, BUSD provides administrative support and acts as the fiscal agent.

Just a few years ago, the Vera Casey Program was in jeopardy of being closed because of a shortfall in the BUSD budget. Strong community support saved the program...the Vera Casey Program now serves 29 teen parents in the BUSD. This is not due to an increasing teen birth rate, as Berkeley continues to have the lowest teen birth rate of any health jurisdiction in California, but rather due to outreach and identification of existing teen parents, reenrolling student parents who had dropped out of school, and expanding services to teen fathers. The Center also serves low-income families enrolled in the YMCA Early Head Start Program.

As one teen mother served by the Vera Casey Program stated, “The Vera Casey staff was there for me when no one else was. They helped me find resources so I could graduate and live on my own.” Please come celebrate Berkeley's commitment to supporting our young families, and the dedicated people who serve them at the Vera Casey Open House on Thursday, October 26th from 4:00 p.m.- 6:00 p.m.

For more information and press packet, please contact Solange Gould, Student Services Coordinator,Vera Casey Collaborative at (510) 644-6854 Extension 2.


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