For Immediate Release - May 07, 2014

Norfolk Juvenile Court Probation’s MOM Power Program Helps Court-Involved Mothers Improve Parenting Skills

Nearly half of the participants of the Norfolk Juvenile Court’s MOM Power Program have had their children returned to their care. The mothers, subjects of care and protection cases-abuse and/or neglect of a child, will celebrate their improved parenting skills and the completion of the 11-week program during a graduation ceremony today, Wednesday, May 7th, 5:30 p.m. The ceremony will be held at the Norfolk County Juvenile Court, 55 Allied Drive, in Dedham.

The graduating class is the second since the program was developed more than a year ago. Of the first graduation class of 10, five mothers had their children returned to their care. Of today’s seven graduates, two of the mothers have had their children returned to them and their cases dismissed by the court. MPower is one of seven Probation-established Motherhood and Women’s programs throughout the Commonwealth.

MPower was created by Norfolk Juvenile Court Probation Officers Tracey Clogher and Teresa Plante. During the program, the mothers attend workshops on nutrition, healthy relationships, child discipline and development, substance abuse, and organizational skills. They also participate in interactive lectures presented by a licensed social worker, nurse practitioner, psychologist, and director of the Court Clinic. MPower meets weekly and enrolls up to 12 mothers at a time. The program also provides babysitting.

“This program is designed to help mothers gain the skills that are necessary to become productive and confident parents,” Plante said. “We provide a number of services, including tutoring for the children and a nutritious meal. We want the mothers to realize how important it is to provide a healthy meal for their children. Studies show that children, who have dinner with their families, are at a lower risk of substance abuse and earn better grades in school.”

Dawn B., a 29-year-old participant and mother of a five-month old girl, said she has benefited from the program. Referred to MPower by a social worker, she said the program has taught her to “lead by example.” Dawn B. said MPower has also provided a ready support group when the challenges of parenting become overwhelming.

“The program has showed me that I am not alone and that there are other people who are dealing with the same issues. It has taught me how to be a better mother to my child.”