'Baby Think It Over' program won't be aborted PDF Print E-mail
Written by By JAN LARSON Sentinel County Editor   
Friday, 14 August 2009 10:05
The Wood County Board of Health isn't about to let cuts in state funding abort the local "Baby Think It Over" program.
The board voted Thursday evening to set aside $15,000 in levy funds to keep the dolls in 10 schools in the county. The purpose of the "Baby Think It Over" program is to give teenage students a brief encounter with a computerized doll that demands almost constant care when in the students' care. The doll is intended to make students think twice before risking a pregnancy.
Sandy Flick, a member of the board of health, said she could vouch for the value of the dolls, since both of her children participated in the school program.
She recalled her son's experience of having to take care of the crying baby during a basketball practice, then all weekend.
"When that baby cried all night, we just shut our bedroom door," she said. But if the teens ignore the baby's needs, the computer program tells the teacher that the baby's needs were not met.
"It was pretty exhausting" and a valuable lesson for her children, Flick recalled.
Lee Christiansen, a citizen at the board meeting, also said the program was a success for his daughter - who said the demanding doll made an impression on her.
"It was great," he said. "I saw the impact it had."
Joanne Hayward, of the Wood County Health Department's nursing division, said the adolescent pregnancy prevention program used to receive about $125,000 a year in state funding about a decade ago.
That money has since dried up, along with the $25,000 the health department used to get from the Wood County Department of Job and Family Services.
Hayward asked the health board to keep the program going by setting aside $15,000 to be used for staff support at the schools and maintenance of the dolls. Every school district has at least 10 dolls, and some require technical assistance when students have them over the weekends.
"We're asking for support," Hayward told the board.
Hayward explained that in addition to exposing students to the demands of caring for a baby, the dolls also open up lines of communications between students and their parents.
"It stimulates a lot of parent discussion," she said.
Also at Thursday's meeting the board of health:
¥ Approved the demolition of a dilapidated home and disposal of debris at 302 Mulberry St., Bloomdale, for $12,800.
¥ Approved the demolition and disposal of debris at 6352 S. Main St., West Millgrove, for $6,500.
¥ Approved a contract change with St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Perrysburg, increasing the monthly fee from $100 to $150 for WIC, clinic and immunization purposes.

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