Transforming Lives of Baltimore City Adolescents and Young Adults who are Expectant and Parenting: Map 2 Success

By LeAna Brown-Scott, Maternal and Child Engagement Specialist at HealthCare Access Maryland (HCAM)

As the Maternal and Child Engagement Specialist for the Map 2 Success project at HealthCare Access Maryland (HCAM), my primary role is to engage with expectant teen parents and parenting youth (12-24 years old) in Baltimore City. The goal is to encourage them to stay on the road to success. I ensure that Baltimore City youth can still achieve their dreams while being and/or becoming a parent. The ultimate goal is to combat infant mortality in Baltimore City by connecting youth and their families to resources and community-based programs such as Safe Sleep and Home Visiting where someone can work with them long-term. I use trauma-informed strategies to connect vulnerable youth and their families to needed services and resources with the goal to improve educational, health, and social outcomes, all while getting them on the Map 2 Success.

In my role, I conduct health assessments and use appropriate tools and resources to triage and refer expectant and parenting teens to Baltimore City Home Visiting Programs and other community group-based programs for support. I work collaboratively with Baltimore City schools, emergency departments, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinics, and other social service organizations to ensure that expectant and parenting youth are connected to various services to benefit them and meet their goals to succeed in life. Some of the most common referrals and needs expressed include: prenatal and postpartum care, infant services and linkage to coordination with a provider, Management Care Organization (MCOs) education, dental care, pediatric care, safe sleep practices, and infant safety. My outreach methods are strategic to connect with youth and I typically do visits to homes and schools, doctor’s offices, WIC sites, and other community settings. I also engage with adolescents and youth telephonically. While working on the Map 2 Success project for the past year, I have collaborated closely with MCO Special Needs Coordinators, doctors, and other agency systems to further maximize my outreach efforts for disengaged youth.

Between July 2019 and March 2020, I successfully outreached 96 young adults. During that time, I encountered young women who were having difficulty accessing formula for their babies and I was able to remove this barrier by scheduling times with clients to bring them cans of baby formula. I was also able to provide clients with baby items and go over safe sleep practices face-to-face. In March, I began teleworking due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I have transitioned from face to face interactions, to solely telephonic interactions. I send referral and resource information via text or email, and outreach clients and families via telephone. Although the pandemic has changed the way that I am able to engage with clients, I am still actively working to engage them, especially during this critical time.

The Map 2 Success project has supported teen fathers and I have provided fathers with employment information and assistance, linkage to community resources for custody concerns, and provided infant safety and resource information for their babies. Overall, there are a lot of expecting and parenting youth in Baltimore City that can and are willing to push through adversities, but they just need a little bit of assistance, especially during these unprecedented times presented by COVID-19. It is my job to provide assistance so that individuals can push through the Map 2 Success confidently.

For more information about resources available for adolescents and young adults who are expectant and parenting in Baltimore City, contact HealthCare Access Maryland’s Centralized Intake System at (410) 649-0500 and visit https://www.healthcareaccessmaryland.org/programs-services/ to learn more about HCAM.