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


Linking cash assistance to program participation increases the level of self-sufficiency-oriented activities when the participation mandates are combined with support services.

  • The Teenage Parent Demonstration (TPD) reached 89 percent of all teenage parents on welfare in the demonstration sites through case management, the provision of support services, and the heavy use of sanctions.  It increased rates of school attendance, job training, and employment while the programs were operating.  The increases in activity levels faded after the programs ended, however.
  • Ohio's Learning, Earning, and Parenting Program (LEAP) increased teenage parents' school and GED program attendance significantly during the first year after they entered the program.  It also increased the rates at which they completed 9th, 10th, and 11th grade during the first three years after program entry.

Voluntary programs can increase participation in education and training among those they serve;  however, relatively few teenage parents are attracted to them.  Moreover, the increases in activity levels tend to fade quickly as participants drop out.

  • The voluntary New Chance programs found client recruitment challenging, despite their extensive service offerings.
  • The New Chance programs increased young parents' participation in education and skills training substantially during the first six months after they entered the program.  The increases became much smaller and eventually disappeared as participants dropped out, however.