The Implementation of Maternity Group Home Programs: Serving Pregnant and Parenting Teens in a Residential Setting. What Logistical Supports Do Homes Provide?


In order to attend school, work, keep appointments, and engage in other activities, young parents need logistical supports such as child care and transportation assistance. While some programs make referrals to connect their residents with outside providers for such supports, others provide logistical supports directly.

Child Care.  Maternity group home staff typically assist their residents in obtaining quality child care for their children. Some staff have ongoing relationships with off-site child care providers. Many homes go a step further and directly provide some limited or short-term babysitting. At some homes, staff will watch residents’ children for a short time when residents need a break. (Most try to keep this to a minimum, since the primary responsibility for caring for their children rests with the parents, not home staff.) Other homes provide babysitting services only at specific times, such as during mandatory program activities. A few homes even provide ongoing regular child care while mothers are attending school or work. For example, one home in Michigan and another in Washington are affiliated with organizations that operate day care centers that are free to residents of the home.

Homes in the Georgia network do not provide child care directly, but, because most residents of the Georgia homes are in state custody, the homes do pay for the use of regular day care centers while teens are attending school. In some other states, maternity group homes rely on the fact that teen mothers receiving TANF can get vouchers to pay for child care while they are engaged in certain activities such as school.

Transportation. Some maternity group homes provide transportation for their residents, and typically have vans for this purpose. Homes often limit rides to types of destinations they consider necessary — for example, school, medical appointments, grocery stores, and group outings. Some go beyond this, also driving residents to and from such destinations as parks and malls. Homes in remote locations, such as one in rural New Mexico, may have no choice but to drive residents everywhere they need to go. Homes in the Georgia network must typically do the same, in part because the high level of supervision required by state law generally requires staff to accompany the residents when they leave the home.

Homes without these restrictions often encourage residents to learn to navigate and use the public transportation system in the area, so they will be experienced at doing so when they move out on their own. Such encouragement is especially common at homes in locations where the public transportation system is good, such as in large cities. These homes often assist their residents with transportation costs. Some provide bus tickets or subway passes for residents. A few homes will pay for occasional cab rides home late at night or in case of emergency. Two Washington homes operated by Friend of Youth help pay for gas for those residents who own cars.

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