A second-chance home for pregnant youth could be established in Walthourville.
Trevor M. Tapper Jr. filed a conditional-use application with the Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission to allow him to operate a residential second-chance home in Oak Ridge Estates in Walthourville.
Mary McGray would be the home’s chief operating officer. The program is regulated, licensed and inspected by the state Department of Human Services’ Office of Residential Child Care.
McGray said in the narrative submitted to LCPC that in accordance with second-chance homes regulations, the staff would provide services to meet the short- and long-term needs of pregnant and parenting teens up to age 20.
The home would provide a secure living environment with adult supervision, material and emotional support for teen parents.
Transportation and child care also would be provided to enable parents to pursue educational opportunities and, eventually, live independently. There would be weekly parenting and life-skills classes, individual therapy sessions, management sessions, tutoring, educational events and group outings.
The facility is a three-bedroom, two-bath house. It would house three teen parents and their children.
The teens would have their own living space but share common areas such as the living room, dining room and kitchen. They would stay at the home for eight to 10 months, and while there, they would be encouraged to obtain a GED diploma, find employment and move into a place of their own.
“I’ve been a resident here in Liberty County for a total of 20 years,” McGray told the LCPC Planning Commissioners at their June 16 meeting. “We noticed that in our region, we have a lot of young people who are being pushed out of their homes and don’t have a place to go. There are homeless women out there that don’t have a place to stay. This is why we chose to talk to Mr. Samuel Bivins (the property owner) about using that home for that reason.”
She said the home would have certified staff available 24 hours a day.
“We will actually have a director of nursing who will be there for the children as well as other staff members,” McGray said. “They will never be there by themselves. We’ve also talked to our local physicians and gynecologists. We talked to a couple of other people and the fire marshal as well. They all agree that there’s a need here.”
McGray said she was a single parent, raising four girls. She was able to get an education, obtain a GED diploma and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree.
“So if somebody takes the time to care, then we can solve some of the problems that’s going on in our community,” she said.
The teens would be referred to the home by the Department of Family and Children Services, Department of Justice and other state agencies. McGray said there are only eight second-chance homes in Georgia.
The LCPC staff recommended approval of the petition with the special condition that the home follow all state requirements.
The Planning Commissioners unanimously recommended approval, and the matter will go before Walthourville City Council for a final decision.