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New education options offered to young parents in Niagara Falls

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Buffalo: New education options offered to young parents in Niagara Falls
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The highest rates of teen pregnancy in Niagara County are in Niagara Falls. The city's high school has helped young parents through a unique center, but more help could be on the way. YNN's Katie Cummings spoke with the district and social services officials about how they're addressing the problem.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — According to the Niagara County Health Department, Niagara Falls has had the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the county.

The Niagara Falls Schools Superintendent says young parents have been getting help with their education through the Center for Young Parents, located in the school. But there's been no day care available on campus.

However, recently the St. James United Methodist Church next door announced it plans to offer that option to students.

"Once they have their children, it's up to them and maybe some of them are on social service to arrange a day care for their children," said Cynthia Bianco, Niagara Falls Schools Superintendent.

The district supports the church's plans.

"We’re just being a good partner with them; we are not in any kind of contractual relationship with them," Bianco said.

While the center is funded through grant money and partially from the school budget, day care at the church would come out of students' own pockets.

"We want to make sure that both the father and the mother and the circumstances that they're in continue and complete their education because we want them to be contributing citizens as well as good parents."

In addition to day care, Family and Children Services of Niagara also wants to open a shelter for pregant teens between the ages of 16 to 21 on Falls Street. The group is ready to open but says it's been waiting on federal grant money for months.

“There’s this need in the county, a dire need to address this issue of pregnant teens, and we have an agency who is trying to address it but we're unable to right now," said Jeff Wierzbicki, Family and Children Services of Niagara.

Meanwhile, the St. James United Methodist church is holding an information meeting on January 16th for all parents to learn more. The day care hopes to open later in the month.

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