The Implementation of Maternity Group Home Programs: Serving Pregnant and Parenting Teens in a Residential Setting. Chapter 1. Introduction


Maternity group homes offer an innovative and intensive approach to addressing the needs of an extremely vulnerable population — teenage mothers and their children who have no other suitable place to live.  Interest in maternity group homes has increased in recent years, due in part to recent welfare reform rules that require minor parents to live in an adult-supervised setting as a condition of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) receipt.  Yet surprisingly little is known about maternity group homes; to date there have been few studies of the implementation of maternity group home programs and no rigorous evaluations examining the effectiveness of these programs.

Given the considerable interest in maternity group homes and the roles they can play in assisting pregnant and parenting teens transition to independence, it is important to fill some of the gaps in the existing research.  The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is interested in learning more about maternity group home programs and in assessing the feasibility of conducting a rigorous evaluation to measure the effectiveness of such programs.  To this end, ASPE contracted Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. (MPR) to explore options and design an evaluation of maternity group homes.  The study has two main objectives:  (1) document the implementation of maternity group home programs and (2) explore the feasibility of conducting a rigorous evaluation of their effectiveness.  This report addresses the first objective; a future report will address the second. 

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