Moving Teenage Parents into Self-Sufficiency: Lessons From Recent Demonstrations. Conclusion

09/01/1998

The new welfare law sets forth clear expectations for teenage parents receiving cash assistance and creates financial incentives for meeting those expectations. TPD and LEAP showed that it is feasible to implement participation mandates and provide needed support services on a large scale at a reasonable cost. The TPD and LEAP experiences suggest that teenage parents' participation in education programs will increase, but unless better education options become available, their basic skills and employment prospects may not improve. The TPD, LEAP, and New Chance experiences also suggest that tailored support services and ongoing, intensive family planning services may be necessary to help teenage parents overcome obstacles and move into self-sufficiency.

Requiring teenage mothers on welfare to participate in education activities is not likely to harm their children, but it is not likely to help them, either.  Intensive, child-focused services are needed to promote the good health and positive development of children of teenage parents.

ENDNOTES

13.  For example, in a case study of Massachusetts, Wood and Burghardt (1997) learned that the Department of Transitional Assistance had modified its computer system to include a field for identifying teenage parents, so that case workers could flag these cases in the review process.  Despite this, they found that case workers were not always using the teenage parent flag (Robert G. Wood and John Burghardt, Implementing Welfare Reform Requirements for Teenage Parents: Lessons from Experience in Four States, Volume I: Summary Report, Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., October 1997).  See also Alan M. Hershey, Enrolling Teenage AFDC Parents in Mandatory Education and Training Programs: Lessons from the Teenage Parent Demonstration, Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research, December 1991, and Dan Bloom, Hilary Kopp, David Long, and Denise Polit, LEAP: Implementing a Welfare Initiative to Improve School Attendance Among Teenage Parents, New York:  Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, July 1991. [Back to text]

14.  Rebecca A. Maynard.  "Paternalism, Teenage Pregnancy Prevention, and Teenage Parent Services." In Larry Mead, ed.  The New Paternalism.  Washington, DC:  The Brookings Institution, 1997. [Back to text]

15.  Philip Gleason, Rebecca Maynard, Walter Nicholson, Denise Polit, and Anu Rangarajan.  Service Needs and Use by Welfare-Dependent Teenage Parents Princeton, NJ:  Mathematica Policy Research, 1993. [Back to text]

16.  Philip Gleason, Rebecca Maynard, Walter Nicholson, Denise Polit, and Anu Rangarajan, 1993, op. cit. [Back to text]

17.  Alan M. Hershey and Charles Nagatoshi.  Implementing Services for Welfare-Dependent Teenage Parents: Experiences in the DHHS/OFA Teenage Parent Demonstration. Princeton, NJ:  Mathematica Policy Research, June 1989.  [Back to text]

18.  Dan Bloom, Hilary Kopp, David Long, and Denise Polit, 1991, op. cit. [Back to text]

19.  Denise Polit.  Barriers to Self-Sufficiency and Avenues to Success Among Teenage Mothers.  Princeton, NJ:  Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., November 1992. [Back to text]

20.  Philip Gleason, Rebecca Maynard, Walter Nicholson, Denise Polit, and Anu Rangarajan, 1993, op. cit. [Back to text]

21.  Rebecca Maynard, ed.  Building Self-Sufficiency Among Welfare-Dependent Teenage Parents.  Princeton, NJ:  Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., June 1993. [Back to text]

22.  Like the basic LEAP program, the enhanced school-based services in Cleveland were moderately successful among teenagers who were enrolled in school when they entered LEAP.  In Cleveland, among initially enrolled teenagers, the enhanced services increased high school completion rates from 21.3 to 25.5 percent, an increase over regular LEAP services that is significant at the 15 percent level (David Long, Robert G. Wood, and Hilary Kopp.  LEAP:  The Educational Effects of LEAP and Enhanced Services in Cleveland. New York:  Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, October 1994). [Back to text]

23.  For example, estimates of the prevalence of child sexual abuse among females range from under 5 percent to more than 30 percent, and the accumulated evidence suggests that at least 20 percent of American women have experienced some sexual abuse as children.  These women are at higher risk for a variety of emotional problems and are more likely to experience unintended pregnancy.  In the 1995 national Survey of Family Growth, 7 percent of sexually active 15- to 19-year-old girls said their first sexual experience was not voluntary, and 24 percent said it was unwanted (David Finkelhor, "Current Information on the Scope and Nature of Child Sexual Abuse,"  The Future of Children, vol. 4, no. 2, summer/fall 1994, pp. 31-53; John N. Briere and Diana M. Elliot, "Immediate and Long-Term Impacts of Child Sexual Abuse,"  The Future of Children, vol. 4, no. 2, summer/fall 1994, pp. 54-69; Kristin A. Moore and Anne Driscoll, Partners, Predators, Peers, and Protectors, Washington, DC:  Child Trends, Inc., 1997). [Back to text]

24.  Peter Z. Schochet and Ellen Eliason Kisker, 1992, op. cit. [Back to text]

25.  In LEAP, only about 14 percent of teenagers surveyed who were enrolled in school were using a child care arrangement paid for by the welfare agency (Dan Bloom, Hilary Kopp, David Long, and Denise Polit, 1991, op. cit.). [Back to text]

26.  Alan M. Hershey, Case Management for Teenage Parents:  Lessons from the Teenage Parent Demonstration, Princeton, NJ:  Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., December 1991; Janet C. Quint, Barbara L. Fink, and Sharon L. Rowser, 1991, op. cit. [Back to text]

27.  Alan M. Hershey, December 1991, op. cit. (see reference 26).  [Back to text]

28.  Rebecca Maynard, June 1993, op. cit. [Back to text]

29.  Alan M. Hershey and Anu Rangarajan.  Delivering Education and Employment Services to Teenage Parents:  Lessons from the Teenage Parent Demonstration.  Princeton, NJ:  Mathematica Policy Research, June 1993. [Back to text]

30.  The Center for Employment Training in San Jose, California placed women in job training immediately upon entry into the program, regardless of their previous educational attainment, and integrated remedial education directly into training for a specific job.  By two and a half years after application, treatment group members were earning an average of $100 more per month than were control group members.  See John Burghardt, Anu Rangarajan, Anne Gordon, and Ellen Kisker.  Evaluation of the Minority Female Single Parent Demonstration.  Volume I:  Summary Report.  Princeton, NJ:  Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., October 1992. [Back to text]

31.  Denise Polit, November 1992, op. cit.  [Back to text]

32.  In Elmira, New York, the number of subsequent pregnancies during the four years after delivery of the first child was reduced by 42 percent among nurse-visited women.  In Memphis, Tennessee, nurse-visited women reported 23 percent fewer second pregnancies and 32 percent fewer live births during the first two years after delivery of the first child than did women in the comparison group (David Olds, Charles Henderson, Jr., Harriet Kitzman, John Eckenrode, Robert Cole, and Robert Tatelbaum.  "The Promise of Home Visitation:  Results of Two Randomized Trials." Journal of Community Psychology, vol. 26, no. 1, 1998, pp. 5-21). [Back to text]

33.  The special health care program for adolescent mothers under 18 and their infants, which was implemented in a large teaching hospital in an urban area in the eastern United States, reduced repeat pregnancy rates after 18 months from 28 to 12 percent (Ann L. O'Sullivan and Barbara S. Jacobson.  "A Randomized Trial of a Health Care Program for First-Time Adolescent Mothers and Their Infants."  Nursing Research, vol. 41, no. 4, July/August 1992, pp. 210-215). [Back to text]

34.  Those programs that have combined values training with sex education (for example, the Teenage Services Program based on the Postponing Sexual Involvement model and the Self-Center) have tended to show signs of delaying sexual involvement and improving contraceptive use (Rebecca A. Maynard, 1997, op. cit.). [Back to text]

35.  Kristin Anderson Moore, Donna Ruane Morrison, and Angela Dungee Greene, "Effects on the Children Born to Adolescent Mothers."  In Rebecca A. Maynard, ed.  Kids Having Kids:  Economic Costs and Social Consequences of Teen Pregnancy. Washington, DC:  The Urban Institute Press, 1997, pp. 145-180. [Back to text]

36.  Through age 8, children who received the preschool intervention demonstrated significantly enhanced IQ performance compared with control group members.  In addition, scholastic achievement increased as a function of the amount of intervention (Craig T. Ramey and Frances A. Campbell.  "Poverty, Early Childhood Education, and Academic Competence:  The Abecedarian Experiment." In Huston, Aletha C. ed.  Children in Poverty:  Child Development and Public Policy. Cambridge, England:  Cambridge University Press, 1991). [Back to text]

37.  Among children in the heavier low-birth-weight group (2001 to 2500 grams), children who received the home visits and center-based child care had higher full-scale IQ scores and higher verbal IQ scores at age 5 than did their control group counterparts (Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Cecilia M. McCarton, Patrick H. Casey, et. al.  "Early Intervention in Low-Birth-Weight Premature Infants:  Results Through Age 5 Years from the Infant Health and Development Program." Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 272, no. 16, October 26, 1994, pp. 1257-1262). [Back to text]

38.  The Comprehensive Child Development Program had no meaningful impacts on the cognitive or social-emotional development of participating children (Robert G. St. Pierre, Jean I. Layzer, Barbara D. Goodson, and Lawrence S. Bernstein.  National Evaluation of the Comprehensive Child Development Program:  Final Report.  Cambridge, MA:  Abt Associates Inc., June 1997). [Back to text]

39.  Denise Polit, November 1992, op. cit. [Back to text]