Child welfare professionals and others engaging with parenting youth should do so in a strengths-based way that avoids stigmas or judgements. Building resilience and social connections among young parents is vital and can be done by offering supports that enhance parent education, parent-child relationships, economic self-sufficiency, and family violence prevention. Effective programs to support parenting youth tailor to the parent's developmental level, focus on healthcare and child development needs, and connect young parents 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 parents in out-of-home care.
Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Parenting Teens
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Explores the issue of teen pregnancy in the United States from a mental health perspective and describes impacts of poor mental health on young parents and the need for more supports for this population.
Family First Prevention Services Act: Pregnant & Parenting Youth FAQs (PDF - 754 KB)
Center for the Study of Social Policy (2018)
Shares answers to a list of frequently asked questions regarding how implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act impacts pregnant and parenting youth, including how the law applies, eligibility of services, and changes in services that can be offered.
Health Coverage If You’re Pregnant, Plan to Get Pregnant, or Recently Gave Birth
Offers information on health insurance for young parents and discusses health insurance options including the Marketplace, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Helping Teen Parents and Their Children Build Healthy Futures
Discusses difficulties often faced by adolescent parents and how to help young parents build successful futures for their children.
Improving the Well-Being of Young Parents
Annie E. Casey Foundation (2020)
Reviews two publications that explore challenges faced by young parents and shares recommendations for how child-serving systems, including child welfare, can improve the well-being of young families.
Lessons Learned: Working With Young Parents in Foster Care [Video]
University of Minnesota, Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (2021)
Shares the experiences of young parents in foster care and explores how mentors can help support them and connect them and their children to resources.
National Parent Helpline
Offers a hotline to assist parents with emotional support, provide advice, and offer referrals to support services for parents.
Supporting Teen Mothers in Foster Care
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2019)
Provides information on supporting teen parents in foster care and reviews best approaches for congregate care as well as effective interventions and services.
Supporting Young Parents in Foster Care: Where Do We Go From Here? [Video]
Urban Institute (2021)
Describes the unique needs of young parents in foster care and shares opinions from child welfare professionals and youth about how child welfare systems can improve to better support parenting youth.
WIC PreScreening Tool: Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service
Presents a tool that caseworkers and others working with young parents can use to assess whether they are eligible to receive Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits. Most young people may not be aware of this resource, so this is something an adult should help with. The tool takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.
Offers tips and best practices recommendations for engaging with young fathers, understanding their challenges, and providing supports to this population.