Implementing Welfare Reform Requirements for Teenage Parents: Lessons from Experience in Four States . Teenage Parent Requirements Prior to Tanf


Prior to TANF, under waiver provisions of the AFDC program, several states had received approval from DHHS to implement (1) a school attendance requirement covering teenage parents, (2) a requirement that minor parents live with an adult relative or guardian, or (3) both. For example, 26 states received waiver provisions under their old AFDC programs designed to foster school completion by establishing financial incentives for teenage parents to complete their high school education. States most often have created incentives by tying the level of AFDC benefits to satisfactory school attendance. Benefits are reduced if the teenage parent leaves school before completing high school or fails to meet a specified attendance standard. In a few states, teenage parents can also receive a benefit increase if they comply with the attendance requirement. In some states, special bonuses are paid when teenage parents graduate from high school; in others, incentives to complete high school or attend school regularly are applied to all school-age children, not only to teenage parents.

Prior federal regulations allowed states, under specified conditions, to require, without receiving waiver approval from DHHS, that minor parents receiving AFDC live with a parent or guardian or in some other supervised living arrangement. Several states have exercised this standard option. Other states have received waivers to limit the exemptions from the minor parent living arrangement provision allowed under the standard state option.