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Roca Young Mothers

Roca’s mission is to be a relentless force in disrupting incarceration, poverty, and racism by engaging the young adults, police, and systems at the center of urban violence in relationships to address trauma, find hope, and drive change.

Roca serves young mothers ages 16 to 24 who are not ready, willing, or able to be in other programs or jobs. Roca's high-risk young mothers suffer from violence, abuse, and trauma and are not in school and not working; gang and street involved; using drugs and alcohol; involved in the justice system; not attending parenting programs; and not responsive to home visiting programs.

Roca has developed an internationally recognized, long-term behavioral health model designed to teach young people at critical risk life-saving skills—the behavioral skills they need to stay alive long enough so that they can learn to choose to live. Roca's intervention is based on brain science and grounded in behavior change because Roca knows that the young people they serve have experienced significant amounts of trauma, and Roca must help them feel safe before they can address behavior change. 

Roca’s Intervention Model has four main components:

  • Create Safety and Stability using relentless, ongoing outreach and building trusting relationships, which minimally include 3 weekly face-to-face meetings for 2 years, with 2 additional years of follow-up support.
  • Teach Life-Saving Skills using a simple, non-clinical version of Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) delivered by youth workers in multiple settings—on the street, in cars, in classrooms—to help young mothers learn the skills to respond better in situations that put them in harm’s way, instead of letting their trauma take over and sending them into “survival mode.”
  • Practice Skills, Relapse, and Repeat by providing education, life skills and employment services to young mothers, and child development support to children, supporting the cognitive skill development of both young parents and children.
  • Engage Systems and Institutions by coordinating case management among all the service providers involved in both generations’ lives and partner to build better outcomes.

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