The Implementation of Maternity Group Home Programs: Serving Pregnant and Parenting Teens in a Residential Setting. How Are Large Maternity Group Home Programs Funded?

04/22/2005

Funding is a central issue for any social service program.  Therefore, when examining the operations of maternity group home programs, it is important to consider carefully where their funding comes from and the amount of funding they require to deliver their services.  In this section, we examine the funding sources for the programs in our study.  In Chapter IV, we discuss the funding levels of each of these programs.

Government Funding. The maternity group home programs included in this study rely primarily on government funding to cover their operating expenses.  They typically depend on one major government funding source, that covers most (two-thirds or more) of the cost of the program.  This primary funding source is then supplemented by funding from other sources (Table II.2).

Table II.2. Key Funding Sources for the Maternity Group Home Programs in the Study
Program (State) Federal Funding Sources  
Child Welfare HUD Medicaid TANF State Funds Private Funds Resident Contributions
GCAPP Second Chance Homes (Georgia) X     O   O  
St. Andre Group Homes (Maine)     X   O O O
Teen Living Program (Massachusetts)         X O O
Teen Parent Supportive Housing Services Collaborative (Michigan)   X       O O
Teen Parent Program (New Mexico) O O     X O O
Inwood House Maternity Residence (New York) X   O     O  
Friends of Youth Transitional Living Program (Washington)   X       O O
X = Primary funding source (covering > 50% of costs).
O = Secondary funding source (covering < 50% of costs).

GCAPP = Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention.
TANF = Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
HUD = U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The main source of funding varies substantially across the programs in the study.  The Georgia and New York programs rely primarily on federal child welfare funds — funding that is received as set monthly payments from the local child welfare agency for providing housing and services to pregnant and parenting teens in the foster care system.  The New York program serves exclusively teens in foster care and relies almost exclusively on these payments for funding.  The Georgia program serves primarily teens in foster care, although the program also serves teen parents not in state custody.  The program uses federal TANF funds to cover other residents and to provide additional services to all residents that are not covered by child welfare funds.5

The main funding source for both the Michigan and Washington programs are HUD grants offered as part of the federal Supportive Housing Program.  One of the homes in the Michigan program also receives additional HUD funding through the Emergency Shelter Grants Program.  Because these programs rely on HUD funding, their residents must meet the HUD definition of homelessness as a condition for eligibility. 

The state of Maine relies on a distinctive approach to funding the maternity group home services offered by the St. Andre program.  The state uses federal Medicaid funds that cover assisted living programs to pay for the professional services received by maternity group home residents (such as counseling, case management, and medical treatment).  This funding source covers about 70 percent of the costs of the St. Andre program.  Other program expenses–in particular, food and housing–are covered by specially allocated state funds provided to the program through a contract the agency has with the state to provide residential services to young mothers and their babies.

The Massachusetts and New Mexico programs are funded primarily with state funds (Table II.2).  The Massachusetts Teen Living Program was established in 1995 as part of a state welfare reform initiative that, among other changes to the welfare program, required teen mothers to live in an adult-supervised setting as a condition of receiving cash assistance.  This legislation established a line item in the state budget to fund the program as an option for those who did not have an appropriate relative or guardian with whom they could live.  In the New Mexico program, the primary funding source for most homes is state funding that was specially allocated for the program when it began in 1990. Three of the five homes in the New Mexico network receive the bulk of their funding from these state funds.  One of the other two New Mexico homes receives about half its funding from a HUD grant to house homeless teens.  Another home serves a large number of child welfare cases and receives substantial child welfare funding.

Other Funding Sources. All the study programs rely primarily on state and federal government funding to cover the costs of housing and providing services to their residents.  However, they typically supplement their government funding in two ways: (1) through small monthly payments required of residents and (2) through private donations.  Most programs require monthly contributions from their residents, usually set at 25 to 33 percent of residents’ monthly income.  Often residents’ only income source is a TANF check.6  In these cases, residents pay a quarter to a third of their TANF grant — typically amounting to about $100 to $150 — to the program each month.  The primary purpose of these monthly payments is not to provide a substantial funding source for these programs.  Instead, as discussed in Chapter III, programs usually view these payments as a good way to teach budgeting skills to their residents and to prepare them for life outside the home, when they will be expected to make monthly rent payments.  These payments typically cover five percent or less of the cost of operating these programs.

Most maternity group home programs receive donations from private charities and individuals to cover some of their expenses.  These private donations typically cover a relatively small portion of the program’s overall budget.   None of the study programs receive more than 20 percent of their funding from private sources, and usually private funding sources cover substantially less of their expenses than that.  A few programs receive small amounts of funding from private foundations for specific program activities.  For example, one home in Massachusetts receives a $3,000 grant each year to pay for a special nutrition program it offers to its residents.  In addition, many maternity homes are operated by social service organizations that run a variety of programs.  These parent organizations often receive contributions from individuals and the United Way toward all the programs they operate, including their maternity group home.  Both the St. Andre program in Maine and Casa San Jose in New Mexico (one of the five homes that are part of the New Mexico state network) are operated by Catholic organizations and receive some funding from Catholic charities to cover program expenses.  Funding from these religious charities covers about 5 percent of ongoing program costs for the St. Andre program and about 15 percent of costs for Casa San Jose. 

In addition, most study programs receive in-kind contributions from local businesses, civic organizations, churches, and individuals.  These in-kind contributions are often new or used baby items (such as high chairs, car seats, strollers, or toys) or furniture for the home.  In addition, in some programs, local civic organizations or church groups provide volunteers who serve as mentors for residents or perform general upkeep and repairs to the building.

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