Moving Teenage Parents into Self-Sufficiency: Lessons From Recent Demonstrations. Child Well-Being


Neither TPD nor New Chance had consistent, meaningful impacts, either positive or negative, on children's well-being.  (Child outcomes were not assessed for LEAP.)

  • TPD focused primarily on improving teenage parents' economic self-sufficiency.  TPD was adult-focused, and improving child well-being was not a major goal of the demonstration.  Although TPD did not provide intensive services directly to children, it did provide parenting workshops of varying durations and intensities and helped participants who needed child care select an arrangement.  Mothers' participation in program activities and the resulting increase in their use of child care neither harmed the children nor enhanced their development and well-being.  In one site, a few statistically significant negative impacts on children were observed, but they were very small and not developmentally meaningful.
  • New Chance attempted to improve children's well-being by helping participants arrange appropriate child care, making referrals for health care, and offering parenting education classes.  All sites were expected to ensure that participants had child care compatible with program participation, and nine sites offered regular, on-site child care.(12)  But these services did not improve the home environment parents provided for their children, nor did the services influence the children's cognitive development.  The evaluation found small negative impacts on children's social-emotional development, based on mothers' reports of their children's behavior, but no significant impacts on teachers' assessments of children's academic performance and school adjustment.



1.  Stanley K Henshaw.  "Teenage Abortion and Pregnancy Statistics by State, 1992."  Family Planning Perspectives, vol. 29, no. 3, May/June 1997, pp. 115-122. 

2.  Child Trends.  Facts at a Glance.  Washington, DC:  Child Trends, Inc., October 1997.

3.  S. J. Ventura, K. D. Peters, J. A. Martin, and J. D. Maurer.  Births and Deaths in the United States, 1996 Monthly Vital Statistics Report, vol. 46, no. 1, supp. 2.  Hyattsville, MD:  National Center for Health Statistics, 1996.

4.  Philip Gleason, Anu Rangarajan, and Peter Schochet.  "The Dynamics of AFDC Receipt Among Teenage Parents in Inner Cities."  Journal of Human Resources, vol. 33, no. 4, summer 1998.

5.  Myles Maxfield, and Mark Rucci.  A Simulation Model of Employment and Training Programs for Long-Term Welfare Recipients:  Technical Documentation, Washington, DC:  Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., 1986; David Ellwood, Poor Support.  New York:  Basic Books, 1988; U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, The Green Book, Washington, DC:  U.S. Government Printing Office, 1993.

6.  U.S. Government Accounting Office.  AFDC Women Who Gave Birth as Teenagers.  GAO/HHS 94-115.  Washington, DC:  Government Accounting Office, May 31, 1994.

7.  Rebecca M. Maynard.  Kids Having Kids.  New York:  The Robin Hood Foundation, 1996.

8.  Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193).

9.  Jodie Levin-Epstein.  Teen Parent Provisions in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.  Washington, DC:  Center for Law and Social Policy, November 1996.

10.  See, for example, Stebbins (1997), who presents a comprehensive policy for teenage parents on welfare, drawing in part on previous research (Helene Stebbins.  Serving Teen Parents in a Welfare Reform Environment.  Washington, DC:  National Governor's Association, 1997).

11.  The programs increased the use of child care during the first two years after intake by 7 to 14 percentage points across the three sites (Rebecca Maynard, Walter Nicholson, and Anu Rangarajan, Breaking the Cycle of Poverty:  The Effectiveness of Mandatory Services for Welfare-Dependent Teenage Parents, Princeton, NJ:  Mathematica Policy Research, 1993).  On average, mothers in the enhanced-services group used child care for two more months during the follow-up period and used care for an average of three more hours per week than mothers in the regular-services group (Peter Z. Schochet and Ellen Eliason Kisker, Meeting the Child Care Needs of Disadvantaged Teenage Mothers:  Lessons from the Teenage Parent Demonstration, Princeton, NJ:  Mathematica Policy Research, 1992).

12.  Janet C. Quint, Barbara L. Fink, and Sharon L. Rowser.  New Chance:  Implementing a Comprehensive Program for Disadvantaged Young Mothers and Their Children.  New York:  Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, December 1991.