Lynwood High School students and their families would be able to receive health care at a clinic on campus next fall under a proposal by area health professionals.
The proposed clinic's top priorities would be caring for pregnant teen-agers and teen-age parents and their children, and setting up a child-care center on campus. The high school now has no formal programs for pregnant students and their babies, school officials said.
The facility would also offer basic medical services such as immunizations, family planning advice, and substance abuse education for students and family members, according to the proposal by the health school at Cal State Dominguez Hills and St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood.
Several elementary and secondary schools in the area offer health services on campus, but only the Lynwood clinic would serve families of students as well.
"You can't separate the health needs of high school students from the needs of their families," said Diane Vines, dean of the university's health school. "If a parent is suffering from a chronic disease that is not being treated, the student's health, and certainly their educational health, will be affected."
She said 750 Lynwood households are being surveyed to determine what services the clinic ought to provide.
Jacqueline Hayes, a guidance adviser who works with pregnant students at Lynwood High, said the school desperately needs programs on pregnancy prevention and child care, as well as a child-care facility on campus.
"Many girls drop out because we don't have a pregnant minors program," said Hayes, adding that many students go to other area schools where they can take their babies. "That's our great need in Lynwood. I've spoken to board members about it. They always say we need it, but things don't seem to happen for one reason or another."
School Principal Mickey Cureton said pregnancy is one of the leading reasons that girls drop out of school. "Any time you have kids dropping out because we don't have programs for them, it's terrible," he said, adding that the school's pregnant minors program was eliminated several years ago during a round of budget cuts. "I'm sure if we had prenatal care and child care, it would be very beneficial."
The proposed clinic would be housed in trailers on the high school grounds. Health professionals from the university and St. Francis would help staff the clinic. They will be assisted by nursing students from Dominguez Hills, Compton College and a nursing program run jointly by the high school and St. Francis.
Although proponents said they hope the clinic will open by next fall, they still must find funds to cover the estimated annual budget of $300,000. Since the financially strapped district is not expected to provide the money, project coordinators said they hope to obtain funding from the federal government, private foundations or corporations.
District administrators have met with Vines and other proponents to discuss the proposal. Eventually, a formal proposal will have to be approved by the Lynwood Unified school board.
School officials agreed that a campus-based clinic that emphasizes maternal and child health would be an important addition.
Teen-age mothers accounted for 16% of the babies born in Lynwood in 1990, compared to about 12% countywide, according to state health statistics. In general, a higher percentage of pregnant women in Lynwood failed to receive adequate prenatal care than countywide.