Adolescent parenting is associated with maternal and infant health problems, poverty, lack of education, inadequate family support, and increased risk for domestic violence and child abuse and neglect. Benefits of social support services for young parents include improved knowledge about parenting, enhanced parent-child relationships, increased economic self-sufficiency, and reduction in family violence.
Effective programs to support pregnant or parenting teens are customized to the parent's developmental level, target health care and child development needs, and connect teens to a comprehensive array of services. Programs should also promote intergenerational relationships by involving extended family members. The following resources address ways to support young parents, including State and local examples.
An Adolescent Parents' Program to Reduce Child Abuse
McHugh, Kvernland, & Palusci (2015)
Child Abuse Review, 26(3)
Evaluates child abuse reporting and health outcomes for mother-baby dyads in Bellevue Hospital's Adolescent Parenting Program to assess whether better outcomes were achieved compared with those in the general clinic and New York City populations. The study showed that a specialized program for high-risk adolescent mothers and their babies can offer several benefits compared with standard care, but more research and funding are needed to tailor programs to the unique needs of teen mothers.
Evidence-Based Programs for Young Parents in Foster Care [Webinar]
The Annie E. Casey Foundation (2017)
Presents a webinar that explores approaches designed to engage young people, specifically young people who have experienced foster care, on the topic of preventing unintended or untimely pregnancies.
Expectant and Parenting Youth in Foster Care: A Resource Guide (PDF - 1,526 KB)
Center for the Study of Social Policy (2014)
Lists evidence-informed programs for meeting the needs of expectant and parenting youth in foster care and their children. The goals of the guide include to enhance knowledge of evidence-informed and promising practices that address the needs of this population and to provide a comprehensive set of resources for jurisdictions interested in achieving safety, permanency, and well-bring for these young families.
Guide to Working With Young Parents in Out of Home Care (PDF - 4,485 KB)
New York City Administration for Children's Services (2018)
Provides information and guidance for working with expectant and parenting youth in out of home care and delivering trauma-informed care. The guide encourages a strengths-based approach to promote the safety, permanency, and well-being of both the young parents and their children.
Opening Doors for Young Parents: Policy Report (PDF - 640 KB)
Kids Count (2018)
Focuses on opportunities to invest in ensuring young parents find pathways to success. By helping young parents navigate the difficult transitions to adulthood and parenthood, the odds of success can be improved for them and their children.
The Strengths Perspective: Providing Opportunities for Teen Parents and Their Families to Succeed (PDF - 544 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 realize that 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.
Discusses teen parenting, including how to prepare teens for parenthood, the importance of getting young fathers involved, what to expect in the future, and more.
Building a Safety Net for Teen Parents in Foster Care: California's Approach
Harkness, Abrams, & Eskin (2017)
Child Law Practice, 36(3)
Shares California's experience with teen parents in foster care and the strategies the State is using to better support them and their children. One approach entails creating whole-family foster homes for parenting youth in foster care.
Children's Hospital Primary Care Center (CHPCC)| Young Parents Program
Boston Children's Hospital
Describes a special clinic serving teen parents from low-income and at-risk environments. The clinic offers access to medical care, parenting education, housing and education support, and social programs to connect with peers.
Fostering Healthy Texas Lives: Strategies to Prevent Teen Pregnancy in Foster Care and Support Teen Parents in Foster Care (PDF - 3,758 KB)
Texas Care for Children (2018)
Addresses the ways that Texas can better support youth who become pregnant or who are parents while in foster care. By helping pregnant and parenting adolescents in out-of-home care, Texas can also give young parents the tools they need to prevent their children from entering the child welfare system.
Resources for Young Parents
Sexual Health Initiatives for Teens (SHIFT) North Carolina
Provides information for teenage parents on topics such as education rights, getting support, finding support groups, staying healthy, and avoiding another pregnancy.
Supporting Teen Parents (PDF - 144 KB)
Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) of Northern Virginia (2014)
Presents a factsheet on teen parenting, the challenges these youth face, how they can find help, why others should reach out and help, and more.
Teen Parenting Service Network
Uhlich Children's Advantage Network
Offers information on a program serving pregnant and parenting teens in out-of-home care in Illinois. The program provides services such as clinical therapy, educational mentoring, family support services, and case management and referral.
Whole Family Foster Homes
Optimist Youth Homes & Family Services (2018)
Serves pregnant and parenting teens whose child is not a dependent of the court by providing a whole-family foster home to keep the teen parent with their child and out of the foster care system. The whole-family foster home and extra support services provided by the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services help to ensure that mother and child are safe and supported.