OGDEN, Utah (AP) — A Utah high school will re-start a child-care program for students, a move that could help young parents finish their education.
Two Rivers High School in Ogden is planning to open the on-site program at the beginning of the upcoming school year, the Standard-Examiner reported .
It will likely serve about a dozen people in its first year and was patterned after a handful of similar programs in Utah, said Principal Nicole Meibos. It will be free for young parents and provide training in things such as nutrition, routines and car seat safety as well as child care.
Student Airiana Gomez, 16, said re-starting the program is a great idea. She’s had frequent absences from school to help care for her sister’s baby.
“Most teenage parents that can’t attend school, can’t get their schoolwork done and won’t be able to graduate the year they’re supposed to graduate … because of how difficult some lives are,” Gomez said. “Some people might have … no one to help them in their life with their child.”
Her sister Destiny, 17, had tried online school after her daughter Jaylah was born in summer 2017, but it was difficult to access because her family did not have internet at home.
Destiny Gomez plans to enroll Jaylah in the Two Rivers childcare program next year, which will help both sisters recoup their credits and graduate.
“That would help me a lot and (my daughter), because when I do go to school, she misses me,” Destiny said. The on-site program would allow her to check on the girl during the day.
A previous childcare program at Two Rivers was closed in 2016 because there weren’t enough students participating to justify the $55,000 staffing cost, according to Weber School District spokesman Lane Findlay and previous Standard-Examiner reporting.
This time, officials plan to keep the program running for the foreseeable future, regardless of fluctuations in enrollment. They are also accepting donations, including $5,000 from the Weber School Foundation.
While there are other similar programs in Utah, they are scarce locally: The Ogden School District closed its program at George Washington High School more than a decade ago.
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