Implementing Welfare Reform Requirements for Teenage Parents: Lessons from Experience in Four States . Study Objectives


This study examines the development, implementation, and operation of programs that have required teenage parents to attend school and live with an adult relative or guardian. It addresses questions in three areas:

How are eligible teenage parents identified?

What manual and computer-assisted methods are used to identify teenage parents subject to the new requirements, particularly minors receiving cash assistance on someone else's case? Did computer data systems have to be adapted to facilitate identification of teenage parents? What roles do particular staff members play in identifying teenage parents? Once teenage parents are identified, are they referred promptly to the appropriate programs and services? What strategies have welfare agencies developed to ensure complete identification and referral of eligible teenage parents?

How is the school attendance requirement operationalized and monitored?

What educational programs can be used to fulfill the requirements? How is attendance monitored? What steps are taken when a teenage parent fails to comply? Are special services (such as specialized teenage parent case managers) provided to help teenage parents comply with the attendance requirement? How are child care needs addressed? Are other supportive services (such as transportation and life or parenting skills training) available?

How is the living arrangement requirement operationalized and monitored?

What living arrangements are allowed for minor parents receiving cash assistance? Are minor parents ever allowed to live independently? If so, under what circumstances? How is a determination made that the home of a parent or relative is not suitable? Are teenage parents group homes available to minor parents unable to live with their parents? How is compliance with this requirement monitored?