A new maternity home for young, single pregnant women has recently opened in Red Deer via the Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre.
The Maternity Home Program, which is an extension of the Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre programming, offers a facility with four bedrooms with private bathrooms. The home also includes a communal kitchen, living area and house parents quarters.
“The goal of this program is to offer a safe and stable home for single pregnant women,” said Anne Waddell, executive director of the Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre. “We are looking at breaking patterns and we know that single parenting is a big issue and it’s very high in Central Alberta.”
The Maternity Home is located in downtown Red Deer and phase one is for expecting mothers and mothers with newborns. ”We started asking our clients that were abortion vulnerable and whose circumstances were so overwhelming – we had an in-house survey that asked what if we had a safe, stable place to stay until you at least carried to term? Because then we have nine months to help them decide whether to put the baby up for adoption or to equip them to parent successfully,” said Waddell. “Often our clients sometimes choose to carry to term but without the proper support or being equipped, the children are apprehended into foster care. We’re trying to break those patterns.
“The response from our clients was overwhelming in terms of how much this was needed.”
Phase two of the Maternity Home will break ground next fall and will be a three-storey building, which will be connected to phase one of the project. Mothers are able to stay for up to two years in this second phase. “That will allow for four one-bedroom apartments and seven bachelor suites,” said Waddell. “Here they will be transitioning into a little bit more of an independent living and to be better equipped to be totally functional with cooking, budgeting and having a safe environment for their children until they are fully able to transition into the community.”
She added mothers accepted into the program will be contributing as they stay at the Maternity Home.
“There will be a plan laid out for them of either schooling whether it be high school or a trade or volunteering. There will be guidelines laid out,” said Waddell. “There will also be curfews that they will need to abide by and they will contribute (monetarily) as much as they can so they can be taught the value of budgeting and managing their money.”
Bunnie Wigley, Maternity Home director, said there is a process in which the mothers are chosen to go into the program.
“First of all they have to be clients here at the pregnancy care centre and they can’t be responsible for any other children. They may have other children, but they are not currently responsible for them. They also have to be free of addictions for at least one year and there can be no violence in their background because it has to be safe for all residents.”
Meanwhile, the Central Alberta Pregnancy Care Centre’s annual capital fundraising event will take place March 11th-12th called After Hymn! For more, visit www.pregnancycare.ca.