Catholic Charities’ pregnancy and parenting services offer guidance to young women
April 26, 2011
HOUSTON — Fully implementing Catholic Social Teaching and the social agency’s vision of “people of faith helping people in need achieve self-sufficiency,” Catholic Charities’ Pregnancy and Parenting Program assists young women to meet the demands of motherhood with the support of counselors and various forms of outreach.
In addition, the program offers guidance to women uncertain about pregnancy resolution as they plan for their unborn child.
“When a young woman comes to Catholic Charities and decides to parent the child, we provide them with the services they need,” said Colleen Kitowski, the clinical supervisor of the agency’s Pregnancy and Children’s Services. “For a young woman who is looking into adoption, we will work with them on options counseling for adoption services.”
The pregnancy and parenting services at Catholic Charities are supported through the Diocesan Services Fund. The DSF is the annual appeal that funds multiple ministries of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston. This year’s appeal, “He who hears you, hears Me” (Luke 10:16), is currently underway.
Kitowski said the agency works with approximately 40 women (mandated to be between the ages of 15 and 25) at any given time; the participating parents are encouraged to go through the program at their own speed. The agency provides care to the young mothers through pregnancy until the child’s first birthday and offers instruction for birthfathers, as well.
For expecting parents and parents of newborns in the program, Catholic Charities also provides educational and support groups, enrichment activities and home visits, as well as referrals for community resources (food, housing, daycare and job training and employment), and assistance in obtaining medical care, applying for Medicaid and locating other services of need.
“We offer educational groups on a quarterly basis, where they come to the office and we have a support session,” Kitowski said. “[The parents] can bring children or their baby, and we work with them on a variety of issues related to pregnancy and parenting children.”
The quarterly enrichment activities for new mothers normally involve social activities such as luncheons and visits to the zoo. For the home visits, counselors are able to walk through prenatal education with the young mothers-to-be.
“We talk with them about what to expect: the bodily changes, medical issues, what they are eating … all of those kinds of things,” Kitowski said. “After the child is born, we discuss their development and evaluate how they are interacting with the child. We are there to guide her and give her information that maybe she can utilize to increase that attachment and bonding with the infant.”
To learn more about the pregnancy and parenting services offered at Catholic Charities, call 1-800-482-3611, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.catholiccharities.org.