The Lafayette Parish School System is preparing to open its first teen parenting center. The Family and Child Development Center will reportedly be able to accommodate 16 parents and 16 children. It will be located at Northside High, and Is scheduled to open early next year. The classes will be structured for teen parents and their children, ages 6 weeks to four years. Teen parents must enroll at Northside High, and meet attendance requirements.

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June Inhern, assistant director of Early Childhood Education says, "We're going to do everything we can to help them to succeed with their education. We're going to call in different specialties to come and talk to the girls about the different resources; we can connect them to whatever it is their needs are.  If they need housing, we're going to call housing and ask them to come and talk to the girls."

Inhern detailed the program for the school board last week. She says the teen parent and child will be given time together in the center.

Inhern expressed excitement, particularly for the children. She's hopeful they'll start kindergarten ready to learn, and parents will learn how to teach them.  She adds, "They're going to develop oral language, literacy, cognitive, and social/emotional, and self-help skills."

Inhern says she's hoping some fathers will participate in the program as well.