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Parenting classes offer support for teenage mothers
Participants in the Turlock Family Network’s teen parenting class make Halloween crafts in October 2009. - photo by Photo Contributed
Teen Pregnancy Statistics
• The San Joaquin Valley has the highest teen birth rates in the state with every 69 girls per 1,000 girls pregnant.
• California’s teen birth rates are between four and 12 times higher than European countries.
• In 2001, more than 53,000 teens gave birth in California, which is five percent of all teens aged 15 to 19.
• There has been a 23 percent increase in annual teen births in California within the last five years.
• There were 12,500 more California teen births in 2008 than in 2001.
• About 70 percent of teen mothers drop out of high school.
• Only 30 percent of teen mothers complete high school by age 30.

— Information from the California Department of Education

The San Joaquin Valley has the highest teen birth rates in California. The Turlock Family Network is reaching out to help those local teens and young adults become the best parents they can be by expanding their parental classes.
“The need is getting higher in our community to offer these classes,” said Beverly Spielman, director of the Turlock Family Network. “I have noticed an increase in attendance for these classes.”
The three parenting classes they offer is the prenatal parenting education class, the co-ed nurturing parenting class and the teen mother parenting class, all of which are free of charge. Each class is a 16-week course ending with a certificate for completion, while allowing people to repeat the class.  
The prenatal parenting education class is offered from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays and held at the Turlock Salvation Army for those between the ages of 12 to 25 years old who are currently pregnant. The class focuses on pregnancy and childbirth, breast feeding, postpartum and family, birth stories, car seat safety, nurturing parenting, health and nutrition, fetal and child development and understanding discipline and stress. The class also focuses on safe sex education with forms of birth control and abstinence.  
The teen mothers parenting class is open to teens and young adults to learn about parenting once the baby is born. The class is held from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday’s at the Turlock Salvation Army. This class focuses on developing life skills, being a nurturing parent, offers support for personal issues, the growth and development of a child’s brain, understanding a child’s feelings and needs and cooking skills. This class also offers free on-site child care while attending the class.
The co-ed nurturing parenting program is offered from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursdays at the Turlock Family Resource Center for parents wanting to improve their knowledge and parenting skills. Free child care and snacks are provided when attending this class. This class focuses on nurturing as a lifestyle, ages and stages of development, meeting the needs of children, children’s brain development, understanding discipline, car seat education, handling stress, communication skills and developing family morals and values.
If interested in taking one of the three parent classes offered, contact Beverly at the Turlock Family Network at 668-3363.  
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.