Programme for Adolescent Mothers (PAM)
To date, PAM has served approximately 46,000 teen mothers, many of whom have successfully completed their secondary education.
The Programme of Adolescent Mothers is the Foundation’s core programme, and is executed all main centres and outreach stations, island wide. On average, 1,250 adolescent mothers are registered in the Programme annually. The young mothers are recruited from: hospitals, health centres, schools, communities. The counsellors employed to the Programme conduct home visits where the girls and their parents are introduced to the Programme. The Programme for Adolescent Mothers is not mandatory. Quite often, therefore, girls and their parents do not accept the offer to register in the Programme. Where the Programme is accepted, the girl registers to attend the site nearest to her. The data shows that the WCJF serves about 48% of the adolescent mothers in Jamaica.
The Programme is non-residential, and includes: academic instructions, group and individual counselling and vocational training. For the adolescent mothers who will be reintegrated into the formal school system, the taught curriculum includes academic instructions in the core subjects (Mathematics, English Language, Social Studies, Integrated Science, Information Technology), group and individual counselling, as well as vocational training. The adolescent mothers who are registered to sit the Caribbean Schools Examinations Certificate (CSEC) choose from a wider range of subjects: Mathematics, English Language, Social Studies, Human and Social Biology, Principles of Business, Food and Nutrition, Home Management, Office Administration, and Information Technology.
Group and individual counselling address a wide range of topical issues inclusive of: self-esteem, sexual and reproductive health issues. The sessions also focus attention on personal development and preparation of the adolescent mothers to be reintegrated into the formal school system, or to advance to tertiary level studies. The vocational training areas include: cosmetology, home management, sewing, embroidery, and chicken rearing. A minimal registration fee is charged ($4500.00 per year). The health of the young mothers is very important. Care is taken to ensure that their nutritional needs are met. To this end, each girl receives a balanced, cooked meal each day.
The Programme consists of:
- Community-based pregnancy prevention program for adolescent mothers
- Parenting and child nutrition education
- Family planning counseling and services for adolescent mothers
- Activities to develop self-esteem and life skills for adolescent mothers
- Classroom instruction to support young women in returning to school
- Job training and job placement assistance for adolescent mothers
- Counseling and support services for adolescent fathers
- Advocacy efforts to change laws and policies affecting pregnant and parenting teens
- Increased use of contraception
- Reduced incidence of repeat pregnancy
- Increased educational attainment among young mothers
- Increased employment outcomes among young mothers