Mission:

The mission of Young Parents Education Center (YPEC) is to empower teenage and young adult pregnant and parenting students to pursue educational opportunities that lead to independence and self-sufficiency; and to promote positive parenting enabling their babies to develop to their fullest potential.

Through easy-to-access, sustained daily activities, YPEC’s strategic approach is: to assist pregnant and parenting teenagers and young adults continue their secondary education and develop vocational plans thus preventing a life of poverty; to offer parenting and child development education to build self-esteem and to prevent abuse and neglect; and to provide nurturing, developmental care for their infants and toddlers promoting maximum growth during their crucial early years.

Serving Great Falls area high schools since 1969, YPEC has three components to meet the varying needs of pregnant and parenting students and their children: Family Support, Parenting Education and Quality Childcare. We are unique there are no other programs in the state like ours. There are some that are community agencies, and some that are affiliated with county health departments and head start, but ours is the only school based and community agency in Montana.

History:

YPEC is a non-profit, school-based community agency. For over forty years YPEC has been in partnership with Great Falls Public Schools and an extensive network of community service providers to offer positive opportunities for parenting teens and young adults in Great Falls and out-lying communities.

After a study was conducted in the mid-1960s determining that a large number of the drop outs in Great Falls were due to unplanned pregnancies, the Great Falls Public School (GFPS) district began a program to provide correspondence classes to young mothers out of the basement of a local church. In the 1970s the program moved into the school district’s building for at-risk students, where the mothers could take high school classes in a room set up as both a classroom and a nursery. The program incorporated in 1978, thus becoming independent from the school district (though they remain a major funding source). That year the program also became a licensed child care center so that the young mothers could attend the Alternative Education Program while their children were in day care. In 1987 the program became known as The Young Parents’ Education Center (YPEC) and expanded its services to include community outreach and parenting/child development education. Today, YPEC serves an average of 60 young parents in our Parenting Education and Family Resource Centers, as well as 30 children in our Child Care Center annually.

Philosophy:

“Education is the most important thing you can do for you and your child”

Services:

YPEC has three components to meet the varying needs of pregnant and parenting students and their children:

(1) Family Support and Community Outreach

(2)Parenting, Prenatal, and Child Development Education

(3)On-site Infant-Toddler Daycare Center

Funding Sources:

United Way of Cascade County; Great Falls Public Schools; Child Care Block Grant; Child & Adult Care Food Proram; Community Development Block Grant; In Kind Donations