Program Outline for the Christian Maternity Home
Jesus Cares Ministries is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, providing care in a family environment for teens in crisis. The home works primarily with those who are pregnant, homeless, and unable to provide shelter and necessities for themselves. Many of the program’s recipients are victims of child abuse, molestation, and/or neglect. Incorporated since 1983, Jesus Cares Ministries has served over 600 young ladies and their children. The clients range in age from twelve to 27 years.
The live-in program provides care for these young ladies and can extend from two weeks to three years after the birth of their child. Length of stay depends on the individual program designed for each resident and her child based upon her personal needs. The goal is to teach them independent living skills and /or transition back to their own family, if it is a healthy situation. Each client must be working towards providing for her own needs as well as the needs of her child with little or no assistance from others. By the time the client leaves the home, a minimum of one to two thousand dollars has been saved and / or some type of training or vocational trade has been learned. They are well on their way to becoming a productive member of society, and a law abiding citizen. To reach this goal the program offers a variety of practical and comprehensive services designed for personal growth. The following is a list of services provided within the program:
FULL - TIME WORK OR SCHOOL PROGRAM- A successful job experience helps to give each young woman confidence in her own ability to provide for herself. If full time school is chosen, the educational training or skill then becomes the means to overcome the circumstances that created her homeless condition. A minimum earning of a G.E.D. is an educational requirement. This portion of the program has been effective even with our clients who suffer from various mental illnesses and / or learning disabilities. One young girl, who was told after psychiatric evaluation that she would never be able to provide for herself, graduated from high school while in the program at age 20 and then went on to secure a room for rent with a family, while working full time for a local grocery chain and providing for all her needs.
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY- The concept of being personally responsible for one’s own growth and outcome in life is learned in this portion of the program. Taking personal action is emphasized as a key component in overcoming the current challenges each woman is facing. The needs of each client will be evaluated on an individual basis, primarily by the houseparents. A team of counselors is available if needed, with expertise in dealing with the areas of sexual abuse, addictions, domestic violence, and grief issues. Dwelling on past experiences will cause depression and increases the likelihood of repeating past failures. Reconciling the past through love, Biblical counsel, and support enables each client to move ahead into a more successful future and hope..
MORAL VALUES- This includes the discussion of the personal dangers we place ourselves in when we cross basic safety limits. For example, having sexual relationships with many partners, no matter how well protected, increases the incidence of STD infection or even contact with the HIV virus. "Know the facts before you act". Abstinence is taught along with complete, updated education about the use and effects of the different birth control methods currently on the market, including those labeled as abortifacients. We hold a pro-life view that all life is precious from the moment of conception. Over 60 % of young girls pregnant out of wedlock will repeat a pregnancy within two years. This portion of the program is designed to reduce the incidence of repeat pregnancies as well as avoid S.T.D.'s that are responsible for the infertility of millions of American couples (one in four couples are infertile). This will secure a healthier and happier future for the client. It will also avoid the need to rely on the welfare system for support, as they will have a greater chance of getting ahead with only one child, rather than having several children to support.
NUTRITION, HEALTH AND PERSONAL HYGIENE- This includes teaching smart shopping concepts and making wise purchases at grocery stores. We discuss unit pricing, nutritional value of foods, balanced diets, and infant nutrition. Breastfeeding classes, stressing the tremendous benefits to baby and client, are taught in the home by Bonnie L. Beezhold, PhD, MHS, along with participation in a local breastfeeding support group. Breast feeding and delayed feeding of table foods has many nutritional benefits for the baby and reduces the incidence of asthma, allergies, ear-infections and many other childhood ailments. This will save the state on medical expenses, as well as reduce the client’s dependence on the WIC program for formula. Several of our clients have successfully breast-fed their children for several months after returning to full-time jobs. Prenatal classes are scheduled immediately upon the entrance of each resident, and cover what to expect through the stages of pregnancy along with nutritional information and beneficial exercises. Childbirth classes are offered in the home to stress the importance of preparation for delivery that have been proven to reduce the need for C-Sections. Most of our clients are well prepared, and we have many wonderful testimonies of safe, drug free deliveries and pleasant birth experiences, even by our youngest moms. We have a wonderful team of doulas/labor support coaches available for those who need additional support for their labor experience. Teen pregnancy costs the state millions of dollars a year due to poor nutrition and lack of education. The medical costs are drastically limited, as the clients will have followed the advice offered in these very informative classes. Also available are classes on hygiene, make-up, and hair care offered by various professional women in the community. As they learn about personal cosmetics they increase their confidence and self worth and have a greater chance of being hired as they move into the work force.
FINANCE AND BUDGETING SKILLS– This portion of the program includes working through an eleven- page worksheet on personal budgeting. Weekly budgeting and reconciliation skills are taught, and proper stewardship of finances is encouraged. This is all put to practical use as every young lady is required to work or be in school full time to develop personally as they learn to live within the means of support available to them. Living within their income is possible as the girls find out how to save and make practical purchases. Volunteers are available to inform them of sales and also take them to various clothing exchange stores that will drastically cut down their monthly clothing costs. These are valuable skills that they can use even after leaving the program. Each client must participate in a mandatory savings program, setting aside a portion of their income towards saving for their future.
AFTERCARE- Aftercare provides help to the young ladies after they leave the program, to ensure and encourage continued growth. Follow up includes practical help, such as money management, child raising, education, mentoring support, spiritual help, access to food & clothing banks, marital counseling, and participation in monthly support classes.
All of the above facets of Jesus Cares Ministries have been proven to greatly assist the client in breaking the cycles of abuse that prevail in the lives of victims from broken homes. Rather than the institutional-style setting with rotating shifts, the family atmosphere has been the primary anecdote for these clients from abusive backgrounds. Instead of relying on immoral means to make a living (selling drugs, prostitution, stealing, etc.), or putting their trust in co-dependent relationships, the client is able to draw from the resources available through the program. New lives and new futures are being molded and shaped as two generations of young people benefit from the hope made available to our community through the ministry of Jesus Cares Ministries.