Moving Teenage Parents into Self-Sufficiency: Lessons From Recent Demonstrations. The Evaluations and Their Findings


The findings from evaluations of three, quite different programs (see table) serving teenage parents suggest some cross-cutting lessons for state and local staff who will be designing new policies and programs for teenage parents.  Next, we present findings in specific program-related areas followed by specific examples.  (All findings cited here are from the reports described in the table of Three Large Programs for Teenage Parents, unless otherwise noted.)

Teenage Parent Demonstration (TPD)


Locations: Camden, NJ;  Newark, NJ;  south side of Chicago, IL
Target Population: All teenagers who were first-time parents and receiving welfare.  In Illinois, teenagers who had no children, but were in the third trimester of pregnancy and receiving welfare were also targeted.
Sanctions/ Bonuses: Generally $160 sanction per month, the amount normally allocated to cover the needs of the mother, for failure to participate in activities (education, training, or employment-related activities)
Services: Case management; initial workshops on topics such as employment preparation, family planning, life skills, parenting, child support, and nutrition;  child care assistance;  transportation assistance.  Average caseloads ranged from about 40 in the New Jersey sites to about 80 in Chicago.
Final Report: Ellen Eliason Kisker, Anu Rangarajan, and Kimberly Boller. Moving Into Adulthood:  Were the Impacts of Mandatory Programs for Welfare-Dependent Teenage Parents Sustained After the Programs Ended?  Princeton, NJ:  Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., 1998.

Learning, Earning, and Parenting Program (LEAP)

Locations: Ohio (all counties).  The evaluation focused on 12 counties.
Target Population: All pregnant women and custodial parents under 20 years old who are receiving welfare and do not have a high school diploma or GED
Sanctions/ Bonuses: $62 bonus for enrolling in school;  $62 bonus for each month teen meets attendance requirements;  $62 sanction for not attending initial assessment or failing to verify school enrollment;  $62 sanction for each month teen exceeds allowable absences
Services: Child care assistance;  transportation assistance;  at least minimal case management.  Average caseloads ranged from under 20 for part-time case managers to 200.
Final Report: Johannes M. Bos and Veronica Fellerath.  LEAP: Final Report on Ohio's Welfare Initiative to Improve School Attendance Among Teenage Parents.  New York:  Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, August 1997. (Executive Summary)


New Chance Demonstration

Locations: 16 sites:  California (3), Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New York (2), Oregon (2), Pennsylvania (3)
Target Population: Mothers 16 to 22 years old who were age 19 or younger when they first gave birth, were receiving welfare, did not have a high school diploma or GED, and were not pregnant when they entered the program
Sanctions/ Bonuses: None;  programs were voluntary
Services: Case management;  on-site ABE and GED preparation;  other employment-related services;  good-quality child care on site or nearby;  family planning classes, counseling, and referrals;  parenting classes.  Caseloads, planned to be 25, often rose to 40 or higher.
Final Report: Janet C. Quint, Johannes M. Bos, and Denise F. Polit.  New Chance:  Final Report on a Comprehensive Program for Young Mothers in Poverty and Their Children.  New York:  Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, September 1997. (Executive Summary)