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|May 13, 2008
Director of Communications
ROXBURY PROBATION'S MOTHERS PROGRAM
CELEBRATES A DECADE OF TEACHING PARENTING SKILLS TO OFFENDERS
Brown, Assistant Chief Probation Officer at BMC-West
leads Mothers Program. Brown is standing and in blue jacket.
Over the past decade, more than 150 court-involved
mothers have improved their parenting skills and learned
how to keep their families intact thanks to the Mothers
the Boston Municipal Court (BMC) –West Roxbury.
The 12-week, BMC-West Roxbury program marked
its 10th anniversary this week at a graduation ceremony
for the most recent class of graduates at the courthouse.
This is the 19th BMC-West Roxbury Mothers Program graduating
class. The 11 graduates hail from Norwood, Lynn, Cambridge,
Charlestown, Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan, Hyde Park,
and Roslindale. About a third of the class were referred
to the program from other courts. The mothers are on
probation for crimes that range from larceny to assault
and battery. One mother was a member of a street gang.
At least two of the 11 mothers are trying to regain custody
of their children.
The BMC-West Roxbury Mothers Program, established
by First Justice Kathleen E. Coffey and Assistant Chief
Probation Officer Helen Brown in 1998, was the first
parenting program for mothers to be established for women
probationers in the state. BMC-West Roxbury Probation
Officer Crystal Young has served as the program's co-facilitator
for more than seven years.
"We are excited about the Mothers Program
marking its 10th anniversary. This program, I am proud
to say, has helped more than 150 court-involved women
become better and more aware mothers. Many of them have
stayed in the right direction, made better decisions
and have learned to not let crime distract them from
being good parents and role models for their children," said
BMC-West Roxbury Assistant Chief Probation Officer Helen
There are now four parenting programs for
mothers in Suffolk, Middlesex and Essex counties. The
programs are run by the BMC-West Roxbury, Cambridge District,
Essex Juvenile, and Lawrence District courts. The Essex
Juvenile Court program, "Mother to Mother," is a few
months old and is designed specifically for teenage girls.
The program holds meetings in Lawrence, Haverhill, and
The participants of the BMC-West Roxbury
Mothers Program meet at the courthouse and attend lectures
and interactive sessions on issues that range from substance
abuse to employment to parenting to nutrition education.
Upon completion of the program, the mothers have the
option to attend aftercare programs at area health facilities
which help them in their recovery and with staying on
the right side of the law.
Recent graduate Ebony, an 18-year-old mother
of a four-month-old son, said the Mothers Program taught
her "patience." A self-professed former gang member,
the court ordered her to participate in the program after
she ran afoul of the law when she and a group of teens "carjacked
"The program taught me to be patient with
my kid when he starts crying," Ebony said. "I also learned
a lot about the resources that are out there like if
I have no place to stay, where to find a place to live."