Louise Dean Centre

“When I first started at Louise Dean Centre, my confidence was very low. I didn’t feel like I could really do anything good in life. All the support systems at LDC build you up and they show you that as long as you work hard and you go every day, you can do whatever you want to do. And then it’s your choice after that what you decide to do with it. Louise Dean Centre saves lives and builds futures.”- Samantha, graduate of Louise Dean Centre (LDC)

LDC is a partnership program that has existed since 1970 between Catholic Family Service, Calgary Board of Education and Alberta Health Services. The LDC model is a solid framework of programs that develops strong, self-sufficient young mothers and healthy children on par with their peers academically and developmentally. LDC programs alleviate the cycle of poverty for teen mothers by addressing the underlying risk factors: lack of basic needs, domestic violence, mental health concerns, inadequate education and job preparation. Outreach counselling and parenting education programs are also offered to young women who are not currently attending school at LDC.

School-Based Counselling

Supporting adolescent mothers attending Louise Dean Centre with their adult responsibilities When pregnant teens and teen mothers at high risk of financial and social exclusion have access to services that support their educational, physical and social needs, they finish their high school education, and are more likely to graduate and successfully build a better life for themselves and their children.

The data for 2012 shows these main areas of concern:

19% use alcohol and drugs
42% have financial concerns
27% live in inadequate housing
20% worry about food security
37% experience relationship issues
41% are currently or have been victims of domestic violence
41% have mental health concerns (primarily posttraumatic stress, depression and anxiety)

Strengthening Hope Learner Bursary

Easing the application process for student financing for students of Louise Dean Centre

Strengthening Hope Learner Bursary, introduced in2012, is simplifying the complex and demanding lives of new young moms by easing the application process for student financing. Instead of struggling to meet their basic needs, LDC’s young moms can now focus more on being good moms and good students.

The Bursary helped 80 students attend high school at the LDC in 2012.

Dr. Clara Christie Learning Centre

Early childhood programs for teen mothers and their babies {0-3 yrs) while attending the Louise Dean Centre

Research shows that without support, children of teenage mothers typically experience higher rates of developmental problems, learning difficulties, and behavioural problems. The Dr. Clara Christie Learning Centre is a licensed and accredited childcare centre onsite at LDC. Children enrolled in the learning Centre are under intense observation which leads to early diagnosis of development delays.

A future opportunity: Our goal is to provide childcare to all who attend the Louise Dean School. Because of the spike in registrations due to the Strengthening Hope learner Bursary, it became immediately evident that additional spaces were needed and, with the support of our partners, we have added 18 spaces to the Learning Centre. There is a continuous demand for Learning Centre spaces that exceeds actual capacity. Therefore, only those young parents in the highest risk circumstances are able to access this valuable service.

Outreach Services

Parent education and counselling support for young parents in the community

Youth may be socially isolated from family and friends after an early pregnancy. We offer counselling and parenting education in the home or through community groups to those not attending Louise Dean School. Involving young parents in community groups helps break down the barriers of isolation and build their natural support system. Pregnant and parenting young mothers identify goals in education, employment and careers, and move forward to achieve them by building inner capacity so they are successful at whatever they do.

More than 500 babies are born to teen mothers each year in Calgary. In 2012, LDC programs provided services to 400 pregnant and parenting youth.

Healthy Babies Network

Prenatal health for mothers at risk for having low birth weight babies

Calgary has one of the highest rates of low birth weights in Canada and the highest rate in Alberta. Low birth weights are connected to many health issues throughout the child’s life. Facilitated by Catholic Family Service, the Network comprised of 22 member agencies and Alberta Health Services, provides a collaborative approach to reducing barriers for new mothers and mothers-to- be who are at risk for having low birth weight babies. Barriers include financial constraints, social isolation, addiction and mental health issues.

The Keys

Captivating, realistic and powerful! This video, “The Keys”, raises awareness and funds for the Louise Dean Centre.