By Monica Rosenthal, CRC/SAL Program Director, Crittenton Center


Being a parent is hard. Being a young parent and a full-time student is even tougher.

West High School in Sioux City, in partnership with the Crittenton Center, hosts a unique program that allows any student with an infant to open enroll at the school so they can complete their high school education, participate in extra-curricular activities, and prepare for the future while their baby receives low cost (or no cost) quality childcare.


The Step Up for Success program helps these students by pairing them with a Family Support Worker to give them access to resources like transportation and teach them the life skills needed to be a successful, independent parent and student. While the program encourages young women to continue with their education after high school, it also provides supports to help participants find a job and access important community resources post-graduation.


The Iowa Women’s Foundation provides support to fund a part-time Family Support Worker, options for transportation, and childcare until the student’s state assistance begins. All of this support enhances West High School and the Infant Center’s already quality programming and increases the graduation rate for these student-parents.


For Carly*, who just moved to Iowa from Tennessee, Step Up for Success has allowed her to learn about her new community, the resources it offers, and how to get around from place to place.


Because IWF funded Step Up for Success, Carly is able to meet weekly with her Family Support Worker who has helped her get referrals and complete the DHS state childcare assistance paperwork. She was awarded this assistance, but in the time between, Step Up for Success paid this bill so that she would not have to come up with this money on her own.


Carly’s Family Support Worker also provides emotional support and motivation whenever she feels like school is too tough and she wants to give up. We are happy to report that she is doing well and earning credits to graduate—thanks to the state-wide network of dedicated women committed to funding programs like Step Up for Success.



*Participant’s name has been changed to protect her anonymity.