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10:39 AM on 07/07/2009
I have followed the development of the G-CAPP program since the 1980s when their education program for adolescents was in its early stages. It's great to know what is being done now and I have appreciated Ms. Fonda's involvement and support for many years. It's a wonderful idea and I hope that it will get the support from others that it deserves. The children and families of the future certainly deserve it.
08:30 AM on 07/07/2009
"If we as a nation are to break the cycle of poverty, crime and the growing underclass of young people ill equipped to be productive citizens..."

Hummm, seems like the problems are always the same and the solutions are admirable, yet too little too late has a manner of marring the intention ...

Does Ms. Fonda know that the AMA fought long and hard against "Doula" practice?

Dysfunctional practices started with our mass media embracing unsustainable ads and news to be in every home in America; still got the gold? Still making the rules ;-(
see biography
06:40 AM on 07/07/2009
Jane: Isn’t the meaning of life: life itself, ensuring the continuity of the species?

Since no activity or function dependant or reliant on human presence, can occur without the existence of humanity.
02:47 AM on 07/08/2009
No; the meaning of life is to discover your divine nature, and to express goodness, which may or may not include participating in the continuity of the species. How can creating poverty, ignorance and suffering be considered to be the "meaning of life."
06:28 AM on 07/07/2009
Every single mother should have a Doula of this kind.

For households in high risk of child abuse it should be a professional social worker making at least one visit per week for the first two years. In addition to teaching parenting skills the social worker would help arrange child care and doctor visits, and watch for signs of substance and child abuse .

In many neighborhoods child abuse is positively rampant, taking place right in public as if it were completely normal. This can and must be addressed as a public health emergency. Kudos to Jane Fonda for her outstanding humanitarian leadership.
11:00 PM on 07/07/2009
Child abuse scans all socio-economic classes. The idea that the poor mistreat their children more often on the whole unfounded.

The fact is that it is socially acceptable for social service agencies to aggressively intervene in a negative way in a poor family, but not so much for the same action against a well off or middle class family. Social service agencies steer away from the affluent classes, even though they have reams of reports and information about abuse; they know that the well off and middle classes will fight tooth and nail in court and they figure its not worth the fight; the heck with the kids.

And so the social order remains; child services enact punishment and shame upon poor families often either failing to act soon enough in an appropriate way or acting too soon and disrupting a family that had the hope of being functional.

The doula system and other systems of supporting and educating at risk families works.

Please though refrain from the stereotypes because they are not true and frankly, most middle class and above people wouldn't know because they refuse to interact with the poor anyway.

Easier to hold onto simplistic ideas than to attempt to grasp the complex reality.
06:23 AM on 07/07/2009
Brilliant yet simple idea for bringing positive change to the lives of American families that need some help. Thank you for keeping this idea going. Please keep us informed about its progress.
03:11 AM on 07/07/2009
If we explain to children, from a very early age, that being a parent is a CAREER choice, things will change. Aptitude tests can be given when they are very young, and throughout their school careers, that will help determine who is suited for parenting, and who isn't. Based upon testing, children could be told, i.e., "you would probably not be a great parent, but you would be a terrific athlete, musician, nurse, etc. Children who persisted in their desire to become a parent, could be encouraged to become doulas to other parents, here and/or abroad. I think that we need to help young people realize that there are options other than becoming a parent; that everyone is not suited for this job, and that there is no shame in that; that life can still be extremely rewarding without reproducing offspring.
10:36 AM on 07/07/2009
Right and good luck to you convincing girls who see having a baby as their only freedom to do otherwise. That's a crackpot idea that will affect like 1% of demographic it's geared to. How often do high-schoolers actually do what their job placement exam recommends? How many think that they know better than some test anyway? You have to reach these kids with the doulas, not encourage them to become one and besides, I want someone who has at least had a baby to help me deliver and care for mine. Why would I believe my doula if she's never once nursed a baby herself?
03:44 PM on 07/07/2009
I strongly disagree with you. When I grew-up, we were taught to respect authority figures, like parents, teachers, etc. I don't remember an epidemic of pregnant teens. People freaked-out when they caught me smoking! Besides, lots of people will listen to the advice of a pastor, even though he or she practices celibacy, has never been married or had any children. I believe that the issue here is a lack of leadership by the various institutions that children used to respect. Besides, doulas can teach teenagers how to care for their children physically, (which is better than abusing them), but can never instill the LOVE in them that they've never had. I mean, I'm sure that pregnant teens would love having someone help them clean their houses, receive bouquets of roses, or chocolates, but our society can't afford it, and for me, it just rewards unacceptable behavior!
12:10 AM on 07/07/2009
Doulas are the future. They can also be trained to provide birth control advice and assistance.
Personally, I think the diaphragm is a very undervalued birth control option.
When fitted well and properly used, it is very effective and the cost is minimal.
There is no need for toxic spermicides, fresh aloe gel works fine and is very pleasurable
for both partners (my husband and i have been field testing it with great success ever since
the birth of our son, who is now 21). The man can be taught to check to see if the diaphragm
is in place, he does not have to take the woman's word that she is using birth control.

Diaphragms plus condoms are the best combination to prevent both pregnancy and STD's
and have the added advantage of requiring both partners to participate and to cooperate.

I think that female barrier methods are not promoted because the concept of women physically
protecting themselves in such a way is very threatening to men and also is unfamiliar to women.

Plus of course there is very little cost . . . an occasional fitting and replacement cap, a fresh aloe
plant once in a while . . . this simple system could liberate so many women around the world . . .
12:05 AM on 07/07/2009
sounds positively brilliant. hope it gets his attention or someone's!
11:54 PM on 07/06/2009
Excellent piece! I would love to bring a program like this to my area. Very inspirational.
11:53 PM on 07/06/2009
The supportive aspects of this sounds really great.
Off the cuff I can't help wishing this wasn't part of the welfare system though. Can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. To be clear I mean the welfare system is the sows ear. I am not referring to the clients of welfare.
10:34 AM on 07/07/2009
In my experience some of the best programs designed to help those in need become progressive tools of the future. Jane is wise enough to realize outcome of care equals beneficial results. An example would be solar energy and water purification versus wars for resources.. When industry and government did not pursue alternate energy sources, those programs were directed towards those in need, with good results and intentions of saving lives and promoting a better future.
12:45 PM on 07/07/2009
I agree
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10:55 AM on 07/07/2009
I am wondering what else you consider part of the "welfare" system. Are public schools, libraries, and roads part of the sow's ear welfare system? Sometimes pulling of public money benefits us all.
12:43 PM on 07/07/2009
No I don't think public schools, libraries and roads are part of the sow's ear. I was strictly thinking of the way "Welfare" (Wikipedia definition: Welfare (financial aid), financial assistance paid by taxpayers to people who are unable or unwilling to support themselves) is managed. I don't think we shouldn't have a welfare system I just think the way it is managed has a lot of room for improvement. I certainly don't have the answers but just speaking as one caring person I love the idea of Doulas completely separate from the current Welfare system. I think maybe I was wrong in thinking W.I.C. is part of that sytem though.
Facts have a liberal bias.
11:37 PM on 07/06/2009
Too, too true. We need to start respecting both children and parenthood. There is nothing as destructive as the attitude that unborn are precious (to **** with the woman) and the actual baby is just a worthless drain on society's resources.
04:27 PM on 07/07/2009
The right wing will never go for that argument-they respect life only in utero. Any thing that gives the impression their tax dollars are going toward anything besides the police, the military and prison building is a "no-no"
02:31 AM on 07/08/2009
So true...once again, Jane, you rule!
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11:22 PM on 07/06/2009
It could easily be argued that the future of mankind depends on embracing this top priority.
11:16 PM on 07/06/2009
Great thanks Ms. Fonda, for your contiued interest in teenage pregnancy..I have written elsewhere on HuffPo about sitting with a16 yr old who was expecting her third child in as many years. I work in public health, we are now seeing them as young as 11. I am almost unable to describe the heartbreak I feel for these girls and their babies. The mothers of these "child mommys" are inevitably young themselves, with many children..They just kind of shrug it off. Some of them are undocumented,. Our society has found no solution to what is really an epidemic. Birth control support is free, and freely talked about, usually to no avail.. The cost to our society is huge and growing. There are few happy endings for these babies, they will end up as young parents or in jail in many cases. Where does it end? I see the prevention of teenage pregnancy as the most important cause that our new First Lady could take on. She is someone that many young girls, particularly from inner cities , really can look to as a role model. I further think, that the fathers, or their families, if the boys are underage should have some responsibility for the lives they are creating.. But , prevention of pregnancy is by far the best way for these young girls to have any chance at education and fulfillment of their potential, the difference to our society would be huge.
11:08 PM on 07/06/2009
Jane - You're a good woman. You have made the world a better place, and many of us really appreciate the sincerety of your efforts. Regarding the subject of teen pregnancy, I think that the problem is pregnancy, period. You agree in your blog, that many of the children and adults giving birth, are people who have never known nurturing themselves; that their offspring are highly likely to develop problems, which ultimately become societal problems. You also know, that when your need for nurturance as a child is unfulfilled,that a deficit occurs, which is irrevocable (I am speaking from personal experience). And so, wouldn't the simplest thing be, right from the get-go, to tell/encourage young people, to find other ways of fulfilling themselves besides reproducing? This is not an elitist position. I am not saying that only the affluent should have the privilege of reproducing, because I know that just coming from an affluent background, does not necessarily make someone qualified to raise a human being. I think that the doula idea is a great temporary remedy, but, in the long run, I think it would be better if we could just establish some criteria as to who would make a good parent, encourage those people to do so, and encourage people who don't, to try to fulfill themselves in other ways. Children need to be taught that just because you're capable of giving birth, doesn't mean you should, and that there is no shame in not having children.
10:36 PM on 07/06/2009
This is a wonderful idea and self healing for those who administer such a program.. Kudos to those who create them.