News & Perspectives

News & Perspectives

As a Teen Mom, I Had No Clue: Home Visitor Program Helps Young Parents

Regina Serverius, a participant in the Healthy Families program, and her two sons.

Originally reported on

When Regina Serverius got pregnant at 18, she had no role model to look to for parenting advice.

She was removed from her biological family in Methuen by social services at age six and bounced between foster homes, group homes, an adoptive family, and a foster family who finally became like her parents.

Serverius’ support became Lisa Waxman, a home visitor from the Healthy Families program.

“As a teen mom, I had no clue,” Serverius, now 26 and living in New Hampshire, said in a phone interview. “I didn’t have any good role models growing up. She was that one person I can call and say ‘oh my God, he’s pooping everywhere. What do I do?’”

Healthy Families Massachusetts is a home visitor program for first-time parents under age 21, run by the Children’s Trust of Massachusetts. (Some sites received federal funding to work with older first-time parents.) As the state’s foster care system is overloaded, Healthy Families officials see their work as one way to keep children out of the system, by stabilizing their families.

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