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175 Bexar County teens receive help on parenting

A conference for teen parents was held at the Northside Activities Center. State and local groups provided resources and educated them on how to be good parents.

SAN ANTONIO — Child Protective Investigations and Child Protective Services was behind the event on Tuesday. A wide range of topics were covered, including ways to prevent abuse or neglect.

“We want to give them skills to deal with anger management, help them deal with parenting issues. I don't know about you, but a crying baby? It's very difficult to deal with as an adult. Imagine, a 16 or 17 year old,” said Lisa Delgado, Northside ISD School Age Parenting Program coordinator.

The event also focused on teen dating violence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 1 in 11 girls and 1 in 15 boys in high school experienced some form of physical abuse in the last year. Patricia Castillo, executive director of P.E.A.C.E Initiative, said education is crucial to help teens stop the cycle of violence.

“The children learn what they live. They will repeat the patterns and the behaviors. That's why the focus of this year's event is about -- prevention,” Castillo said. “Don't hesitate to seek our help and to ask questions because knowledge is power.”

Texas Legal Services Center attorney Summer Benford, who participated as one of the vendors, said her goal was to help direct teen parents to the right agencies.

“My first thing is to provide them info about CPS. Second thing, is the attorney general. Because these kids are what? Not married,” she said.

Benford shared her personal story about how she became a mother at 17 years old. During her third year in law school, she worked on cases involving childrens' rights. She ended up adopting her sister’s son. Benford said her life experiences led her to advocate for teen parents. She encourages them to stay focused on what's important.  

Credit: Summer Benford
Summer Benford, her adopted son Jacob Cyphers and her daughter, BriShon Mitchell

“You're going to want to give up sometimes. Continue. You have a kid, someone looking for you to make the right decisions and keep moving forward. You have to continue to do that. If you don't? Your kids will fail,” she said.