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Young Mothers Are Strong (or YMAS) is a program for pregnant/parenting adolescent females who are at high risk of a second pregnancy. The initial pilot group of women chose the model's name - Las Madres Joyenes Estan Fuertes.

The education/support group model includes ten 1.5-hour sessions offered weekly. Topics are: Communication; Feelings & Defenses; Chemical Dependency including Fetal Alcohol and Other Drug Exposed Children; Chemically Dependent Families; Relationships (Domestic Violence and Abuse); and Decision-Making & Reproductive Heath Issues. The original model has been expanded into a yearlong course for sites requesting continuing services. Pilot sites continue to implement the model using trained and mentored on-site staff and peer co-leaders. 

At the conclusion of group, participants showed significant improvement in 

  • Self-esteem 

  • Knowledge about family functioning 

  • Coping skills and decision-making ability

  • Knowledge of chemical dependency

  • "Regular use" of birth control

  • Emotional functioning

  • Learning how to share feelings, opening up and trusting someone

  • Learning that they were good people: strong, independent and important

  • Use birth control on the average to either "every time" or "most of time" 

  • Knowing how to say no and refusing to participate in something they did not want to do.

  • Were more likely 

    • to say they had been taught about AIDS or HIV infection 

    • to say "felt good about the things I can do " 

    • to say "they had learned how to wait and work for the things they want" 

    • to say "I understand how to set goals for myself" 

    • to agree that they had discussed with someone how to avoid pregnancy. 

  • Were less likely 

    • to use cocaine or speed (significantly)

    • to have been in a fight in the last six months.

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