A teenage girl is facing murder charges for allegedly killing her newborn baby. Authorities say it appears 17-year-old Cheyenne Corbett was trying to hide her pregnancy by denying accusations made by her parents. According to the arrest affidavit Corbett says she was going to tell her parents about the pregnancy but just kept putting it off. The tragedy is that there are local programs that can help teens deal with this very issue.
Get Real is a Hilltop program that's been around for about 20 years, and it's goal is to give teens the tools and information they need to make responsible life choices- especially when it comes to communicating with their parents about issues like pregnancy.
The program works with 10-19 year olds on pregnancy prevention issues. The group meets after school and also offers individual sessions. So far only seven Get Real participants have become pregnant out of roughly 600. Jackie Sievers Director of Child and Family Services for Hilltop says that's because along with pregnancy prevention, communication is also a top priority.
However Jackie says there's a lot of fear involved with pregnancy for anyone but especially for for teens– because they know their life will change. 17-year-old Cheyenne Corbett's life was forever changed Saturday when she allegedly gave birth to a full term baby girl in the shower at her parents Fruitvale home, then wrapped the baby in a towel and put it's body in an entertainment center. Seivers says she thinks teens need to be aware that there are services out there to help them, that there are supports in place that they don't have to face it or their parents alone because that can be scary. But not as scary as facing charges of first degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. Sievers says if teens aren't enrolled in programs to help them deal with their pregnancy they need to know that there's always a last resort- one that's legal.
Under the Safe Haven Law a parent can legally abandon an unwanted child 72 hours from the time of the child's birth. They can leave the infant at a fire station with firefighters or at a hospital with staff.
Hilltop also has a family first program which provides case management and support for pregnant and parenting teens. Case managers say they are willing to go with a pregnant teen to tell their parents the news.
For more information on the programs offered by Hilltop call 244-3804 or 244-3823.
Cheyenne Corbett is expected to appear in court tomorrow.