Mayor Wharton works to get parents 24-hour help raising kids

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The city of Memphis is launching a hotline and opening two centers for parents by mid-March.

It's part of the mayor's anti-youth violence plan, and aims to help parents who feel overwhelmed and need somewhere to go for advice.

WREG polled parents from all backgrounds and neighborhoods in the city Monday, and found out about five out of six parents feel centers are necessary to help our children.

In fact, one Frayser mother said she's been begging the city for something like this for years.

"I was seeking desperate help with my children from keeping them from getting into trouble," Elizabeth Baldwin said.

She needed guidance and counseling for two kids.

"I went to every office in juvenile court and begged for help," Baldwin said.

Sadly, she couldn't find anywhere to go, and now, her daughter is in jail for drugs.

"It is definitely needed. It is long over due," Baldwin said.

She's happy to hear times are changing.

"In a couple of months, if not sooner," Mayor A C Wharton, who gave us a timeline at a Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday event, said.

Mayor Wharton said you'll soon be able to call a 24-hotline or got to a parenting center to get advice on health, behavior, or any challenge you may face raising your kids.

Wharton said all parents are welcome. Income or background don't matter.

"You can get the help that child needs," he said.

WREG found out the centers will launch at Knowledge Quest on College Park Drive and at Baptist Memorial Hospital for Women on Humphreys.

"Babies are raising babies today. I think they do have a lot to do with it," Memphis parent Joyce Johnson said.

Parents think it's a good idea, especially after seeing so many kids involved in violence lately.

"There are a lot of parents, especially around my age, that do have questions about the things they can better do to raise their children," Memphis parent Crystal Fullilove said.

Critics, however, are afraid parents who need help won't get it.

"If they are having troubles with their children as they are now, they probably have problems with their own selves and own parenting," Memphis parent Mark Lickwar said.

No word how much the centers or hotline will cost, or if there's any private funding.

Mayor Wharton said the parenting centers and hotline are based on national research.

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