Nova Rexroad, with her son, Roman, and Yvonne Wild, a caseworker for the Community Maternity Services Outreach program in Washington and Warren counties. (Emily Benson photo)
Nova Rexroad, with her son, Roman, and Yvonne Wild, a caseworker for the Community Maternity Services Outreach program in Washington and Warren counties. (Emily Benson photo)
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When Nova Rexroad found out she was pregnant at 20, the first thing she thought of was her baby.

“I wanted to make sure I had everything for him,” Rexroad said about her son, Roman. “I wanted to know what to do in any situation.”

Like many expecting mothers, Rexroad wanted access to the best resources needed to care for her child. But as young parents, Rexroad and her fiance, Justin, knew obstacles may be ahead.

That was when a friend recommended Rexroad get in touch with Catholic Charities’ Community Maternity Services (CMS) Outreach Program.

The CMS program provides home-based support services to pregnant teens and adolescent parents in various counties across the Diocese, including in Warren and Washington counties where Rexroad lives. CMS focuses on parent education for young mothers, and connecting clients with a caseworker who can provide support with goal planning, education, transportation, childbirth education, infant care, child development and life skills. 

“It’s a huge need,” said Susan Hughes, program director of Community Maternity Services in Warren/Washington counties. “It’s something I don’t think many people like to talk about, but there are pregnant young families who need help.”

After connecting with CMS, Rexroad was introduced to Yvonne Wild, a caseworker with CMS. Now, Rexroad says, “I don’t know how I would be able to do it without her.”

“She gives me different information about the different stages, like each month about what Roman should be doing feeding-wise and sleeping-wise,” Rexroad added. “All sorts of ¬≠different information that I wouldn’t have known especially because I’m a young mom. You don’t always get your information from your family and your friends … so it’s very helpful.”

Wild has been a caseworker with CMS in the Warren/ Washington counties for almost 12 years: “This program is so important because many girls have faced challenges,” said Wild. “Poverty, neglect, violence, etc.”

Wild said that each client’s needs are subjective based on their situation. If needed, CMS will help connect their clients with other programs such as WIC, SNAP food benefits, counseling, tutoring or with getting re-enrolled in high school or college.

Currently, Wild oversees 14 clients in Warren County. Being in a rural area, Wild says one of the biggest issues facing young mothers is finding transportation to important prenatal or pediatric appointments. Dealing with transportation has gotten harder over the years as funding for the program has continued to decrease.

“There used to be two full-time case managers and a full-time parent educator, two program directors for Warren and Washington, now we’re down to combined offices and all we have are two part-time caseworkers,” said Wild.

Hughes added that having part-time caseworkers is especially difficult “when one house visit and transportation to a doctor’s office might take a whole day.”

Despite the challenges, Wild makes a great effort to ensure all her clients are cared for.

Sometimes when Rexroad is low on diapers, Wild will drop some off. Wild drives her and Roman to dentist and doctor’s appointments, and even helped with getting a car seat.

When Rexroad was pregnant, she realized she was going to be short on rent while on maternity leave, even after rigorous saving and financial planning. Wild spoke with CMS and was able to help cover the rest of her rent until she could work again.

“It was so helpful,” Rexroad said. “I literally don’t even know how I would have been able to stay in my apartment if (CMS) hadn’t been able to do that.”
Roman, now almost 2, is a healthy and happy ball of energy. He loves cars, mint tea and ¬≠chicken nuggets. He’s a gregarious toddler, greeting anyone he sees with a proud “Hi!” and an infectious smile. One of the people he knows well is Wild.

“(Yvonne) is probably one of my favorite people,” Rexroad said. “(She’s) one of my friends and almost feels like family.”

For more information on Catholic Charities Community Maternity Services for Warren/ Washington counties, contact Susan Hughes at susanh@cccms.org or (518) 668-3167.