Iveth Robles, 18, a new mom and student at Daily High School, said she would have dropped out of school long ago had there not been a place where she could leave her daughter while attending classes throughout the day.
“I don’t work, so I would have to pay,” said Robles, as she began a writing assignment on her school’s laptop. “I would not have been able to continue.”
Robles is enrolled in Daily High’s California School Age Families Education program, or Cal-SAFE, which provides free child care and parenting education to mothers in high school.
“They teach us everything, like what to do when they get sick,” said Yessenia Alvarez, 17, a former Burbank High School student who wants to study child development and become a teacher.
“The nurse comes and helps us. Teenagers don’t know a lot of health things.”
According to Principal Cuauhtemoc Avila, most districts in the state have an active Cal-SAFE program.
“What the adult parent would get from a book or from a class that they might take in college, they get it here,” Avila said. “It’s part of the instructional program.”
The program also affords teachers and students more one-on-one time, said Susie Valle, head teacher of the infant and development program at Daily High.
But the most important aspect is providing the children and moms with a routine.
“Once they leave us — once they leave high school — those kinds of routines are important once they go outside to the real world,” she said.
Valle, who sometimes is responsible for babies as young as 6 weeks, said the routine of coming in every day allows the children to make a smooth transition to preschool.
“She likes it; she likes playing here,” Alvarez said of her 21-month-old daughter. “It was especially hard for her. She would cry. Now she likes it.”
Student and teen mom Carolina Gonzalez, 17, while working on a scrapbook project, said she wouldn’t be able to finish school if not for Cal-SAFE.
“I want to finish school,” said Gonzalez, a former Burbank High student who has been enrolled in the program for a year.
Her 8-month-old boy, she said, looks forward to coming to school with his mom.
“He plays and sleeps,” Gonzalez said, stopping at a page in her scrapbook bearing an image of mother and son.