Building Self-Sufficiency Among Welfare-Dependent Teenage Parents: Lessons from the Teenage Parent Demonstration. Impacts on Income Sources and Economic Status


The demonstration programs altered the income sources for the young mothers somewhat.  As noted earlier, significantly more of the enhanced-services group received income from employment than did their regular-services group counterparts -- differences that resulted in an average of $23 a month more in income from employment, most of which was due to the higher employment rate among the enhanced-services group.  These earnings gains contributed to significantly lower participation rates in the food stamp program, but not lower average food stamp benefit amounts.  They also led to lower AFDC benefit amounts, but not lower AFDC participation rates.  Child support payments were relatively low (an average of only $23 per month) and similar between the regular- and enhanced-services groups.  (See Table ES-3)

Program-induced impacts on income sources began to emerge in all three sites during the second quarter after program enrollment, as participants finished their workshops and some moved into employment.  The impacts persisted through the two-year follow-up period, particularly in Camden.  The average program-induced reductions in AFDC benefits tended to parallel the employment impacts.  Moreover, the patter of relatively larger impacts on AFDC benefits among those with higher basic skills, Hispanics, and older youth (a five percentage point reduction) was similar to that observed for earnings.

Regardless of whether young mothers participated in the demonstration programs, the vast majority were living in poverty at the time of the follow-up survey.  Only those who got a job were able to escape poverty in large numbers -- 80 percent of those employed versus 2 percent of others.