Designing Program Workshops for Teenage Parents: Lessons from the Teenage Parent Demonstration. Cost to Provide Workshops


If workshops are to be part of a teenage parent program, planners must obviously allocate resources for them.  If workshops are to be conducted by outside specialists under contract, or by specialist program staff, the estimated cost of these staff positions or contracts would be included in the budget.  If case managers are expected to conduct workshops, the portion of their time that will be devoted to workshops must be taken into account when the required number of case managers is projected.

We estimated the cost of the initial mandatory workshops at the three demonstration programs over the period from July 1988 through June 1989, including the cost of contracts for outside workshop leaders and the time spent on workshops by program staff and donated staff from other agencies.

The Cost of Initial Workshops Ranged from $18 to $505 Per Person Entering the Program

The resulting estimates of initial workshop costs correspond to the differences in workshop intensity described earlier.  In Chicago, initial workshops were limited to nine hours per cycle and the primary workshop cost was for the time of the case managers who took time out from their caseloads to run the weekly workshops.(11)  With this "low-intensity" model, the overall cost of initial workshops in Chicago was estimated at $12,705 per year, or about $18 per teenage parent who completed program intake.  Initial workshops were a very minor portion -- less than 1 percent -- of total program expenditures.

In the New Jersey programs, where initial workshops were considerably more extensive, costs were correspondingly higher.  In Newark, where the program used a mix of case managers and outside contracts, initial workshops cost an estimated $41,260 in the period July 1988 through June 1989, or about $266 per enrollee.  In Camden, the intensive four-week curriculum of initial workshops cost an estimated $95,379 over this period, or about $505 per enrollee.  This cost was composed largely of contracts with outside agencies to lead specialized workshops; for example, a contract with Planned Parenthood to provide eight full-morning sessions in each four-week workshop cycle throughout the year cost the program about $12,000 -- about the same annual cost as the case manager time devoted in Chicago to the full initial workshop program.  In Newark and Camden initial workshop costs were approximately 5 and 10 percent of total program costs, respectively.(12)

The considerable difference in workshop costs between the Newark and Camden programs corresponds to differences in the approaches the two sites took to scheduling workshops.  In Camden, all of the initial workshops were scheduled as an intensive "boot camp" period during which new enrollees would normally complete all workshops.  Using this approach, the Camden program could schedule complete "packages" of workshops back-to-back, and thus made heavy use of each leader or outside provider of workshop services throughout the year.(13)  In Newark, less priority was placed on creating an intensive workshop schedule, since workshop attendance was interspersed with other activities such as remedial education classes or training.  As a result, each initial workshop was repeated less frequently in Newark than in Camden, and less use was made of the providers involved in running workshops.

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