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New agency to oversee pregnancy services


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Route 21, a program for pregnant or parenting teens, will continue with support from the United Way of Bartholomew County beginning in January.

Human Services Inc. will oversee the program, which served 57 clients ages 16 to 18 in 2013. It replaces Childhood Connections as the sponsoring agency.

Route 21 will continue to offer individualized case management, education and referral services for clients in the capacity Childhood Connections has done since it was established in 2009, said Jill Hammer, executive director of Human Services Inc.

“Current Route 21 participants are strongly encouraged to remain in the program,” Hammer said in a news release. “It’s clear that Childhood Connections has nurtured strong relationships with its clients, and we appreciate the opportunity to follow them in delivering this valuable program.”

Human Services Inc. has key elements already in place to make for a good transition, said Mark Stewart, president of the United Way of Bartholomew County.

“They have the Head Start program,” Stewart said. “So they have a lot of experience working with young children and their parents.”

The fate of Route 21 fell into jeopardy last spring after its Childhood Connections lost its contract with the Indiana Association for Child Care Resource and Referral after the state agency reorganized its regional programming in October 2012.

Childhood Connections downsized to stretch its funding, including cutting staff and moving to a smaller location. However, those steps were not enough.

In June, Childhood Connections’ board partnered with the United Way of Bartholomew County to locate an organization to take over the supervisory role of Childhood Connections and ensure the Route 21 program would continue.

Route 21 offers a range of services to clients that promote self-sufficiency. Both mothers and fathers may seek help with parenting skills, education and job training through age 21.

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