The Penquis Journey House is a Maternity Group Home serving pregnant and parenting young women between the ages of 16-21 who are experiencing homelessness, are at risk of becoming homeless, or have an unsafe living situation. The goal of the program is to build independent living skills and transition these young families from unstable living situations to self-sufficiency.
“Mary” enrolled in the Journey House Program in July 2015. “Mary” was 20 years old, homeless, pregnant, and struggling with mental health and substance use. Mary’s path to the Journey House included her finding out she was pregnant and seeking out her biological family for support and guidance. Mary was not able to live with her biological family as they were deemed unsafe by child protective services for Mary and her unborn child. Once Mary moved into the facility, she formed close relationships with the staff at Journey House and began attending services at the Baptist church, just up the street from the facility. Mary began to share with staff stories from her childhood and how she had lived over the past several years. Mary shared about her mental health and how she would use substances as a way to cope with thoughts and feelings. We went to work setting goals and identifying programs and services that would benefit Mary’s success. We connected Mary with doctors, mental health providers, clinicians, and employment opportunities. Mary began making progress with managing her symptoms and forming relationships in the community.
Mary eventually gave birth to a healthy baby girl, began medication treatment and counseling for her mental health, and decreased her desire to use substances as a coping strategy. Mary increased her parenting skills; developed routines for herself and her child; built a budget and demonstrated the ability to meet the needs of her family. Mary connected with a family who lived in Dexter and attended the Baptist church. Mary made the decision to move in with this family and transitioned from the program in February 2016.
Mary and her daughter eventually connected with other supports in the southern part of the state. Mary continues to call the staff at Journey House to talk about her daughter’s growth and development, share successes and challenges, and sometimes just to talk.