Studies of maltreatment, in particular physical abuse, reveal that young mothers exhibit higher rates of maltreatment than older mothers. Other factors, such as lower economic status, lack of social support, and high stress levels, also contribute to the link between young parents and child maltreatment.
The Cycle of Child Protection Services Involvement: A Cohort Study of Adolescent Mothers (PDF - 754 KB)
Wall-Wieler, Brownell, Singal, Nickel, & Roos (2018)
Presents the results of a study that showed adolescent mothers in foster care at the time they gave birth are more than seven times more likely to have their child taken into care of the child welfare system before age 2 than adolescent mothers who were not in care.
The Evidence Base: Child Maltreatment Risk Factors
University of Texas at Austin, Child and Family Research Partnership (2019)
Reviews risk factors for child maltreatment, including young parental age. Young parents are three times as likely to maltreat their children, and young age limits a mother's ability to access resources to help provide for the family.
For Young Parents
Sexual Health Initiatives For Teens
Shares information on the education and medical rights of pregnant and parenting teens currently in school. The resource also offers information on where teen parents can access support resources, such as child care, support groups, and financial benefits, and recommendations to stay healthy.
How Can Understanding Risk and Protective Factors Predict Chronic Neglect for CPS-Involved Families?
Casey Family Programs (2020)
Examines the use of risk assessment tools to predict chronic neglect and shows that parents' cognitive impairment, history of substitute care, and mental health problems, as well as a higher number of allegations in a report, are the strongest predictors. Having a younger parent, being in a family with higher numbers of children, and being in a family with a child under age 1 were also predictors of neglect.
Intergenerational Transmission of Maladaptive Parenting Strategies in Families of Adolescent Mothers: Effects from Grandmothers to Young Children
Seay & Jahromi & Umaña-Taylor & Updegraff (2016)
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 44(8)
Examines whether adolescent mothers’ potential for abuse and punitive discipline is dependent on generational maternal parenting experiences.
Development Services Group, Inc.; Child Welfare Information Gateway
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Risk Factors and Protective Factors
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020)
Explores risk and protective factors for child maltreatment, including young parental age, low education, single parenthood, having a large number of children, and low income. The webpage also mentions parents' lack of understanding of parenting skills, child development, and children's needs as risk factors.
The Strengths Perspective: Providing Opportunities for Teen Parents and Their Families to Succeed (PDF - 526 KB)
Journal of Family Strengths, 15(1)
Examines the issue of teenage pregnancy and parenting from a strengths-based perspective. Practitioners focus on these parents' strengths and describe how strengths are often birthed during adversity. Implementing a strengths-based perspective allows child welfare workers to be more responsive to the unique needs of young parents.
Provides practical guidance for preparing teenage parents to care for their children.
What Are Some Strategies for Supporting Pregnant and Parenting Teens in Foster Care?
Casey Family Programs (2018)
Describes the unique needs of pregnant and parenting teens in foster can and how child welfare professionals can best provide services and supports to this population to help prevent child abuse and neglect.