Four-county area gets grant to help teens

It is unclear how much, if any, funding from a $6 million federal grant the state of Washington received earlier this month to help teen parents will make it to the Lower Valley.

The grant is designated to go to programs in the four-county region of Yakima, Franklin, Grant and Adams counties, the area of the state with the highest teen pregnancy and birth rates.

Funding will go to organizations that help connect expectant and parenting teens, women, fathers and their families with health, education and social services.

According to ESD 105 Public Information Officer David Goehner, the only program listed in the grant that is already active in the Yakima area is GRADS (Graduation, Reality And Dual-role Skills), and only the Yakima high schools are part of the program at this time.

“I do know they want to expand the program,” he said. “Maybe some of this money will extend the program to other schools, but it is too soon to tell.”

The grant partners are the Washington State Department of Health, Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Attorney General’s Office and WithinReach, a non-profit organization that connects families and individuals to resources in Washington state.

The Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs will also be involved.

The grant money will be available for five years and builds on work done through a previous 2010-13 federal grant that improved services and public awareness for pregnant and parenting women who experience domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking.


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