Costs of Mandatory Education and Training Programs for Teenage Parents on Welfare: Lessons from the Teenage Parent Demonstration. Support Services

07/12/1993

The demonstration helped participating teenage parents deal with the two most pressing practical problems that could interfere with their involvement in the program -- finding and paying for child care, and paying for transportation to and from their program activities.

Child care services included helping participants find providers, inspecting and approving providers' physical facilities, providing child care directly, and paying providers for their services.  In both New Jersey sites, a child care counselor was part of the case management staff.  This counselor helped participants understand the merits of alternative types of child care, identified available providers if participants had not already chosen one, and visited and inspected providers chosen by participants.  The counselor also served as a liaison to providers for resolving questions about invoices and payment.  In Chicago, case managers helped participants identify suitable child care if they did not have care already arranged.

In all three sites, demonstration staff were involved in approving payments to child care providers.  Providers sent invoices to the demonstration office, where either case managers or support staff reviewed the invoices, checked the invoices against participants' attendance at program activities, and authorized payments.  Authorizations were then sent to the appropriate county or State fiscal office, which issued payments according to established rates based on the type of provider and the age of the child.

Child care was also provided to a limited extent directly by the demonstration programs.  In Newark, the demonstration paid an individual private provider to care for participants' children in an on-site child care room while the participants attended classroom activities or workshops at the site, or met with their case managers.  In Chicago, for at least part of the demonstration, work-experience participants from Illinois's adult work-welfare program, Project Chance, were paid to staff a child care room.

The demonstration also helped participants by paying expenses for transportation to and from program activities at the demonstration office as well as at other education and training locations.  In all sites, participants were paid a weekly amount to cover bus fare; in the New Jersey sites all participants received the same amount, but in Chicago amounts were established based on each participants' actual commute to program activities.  The Chicago program also distributed free bus tokens purchased from the Chicago Transit Authority.