Primary Sources: Improving the Future for Pregnant and Parenting Youth

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Photograph of a Latina couple taking their picture together with a camera phone.

Successful life navigation by former participants in a group for pregnant and parenting teens” (abstract). Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies, Vol. 5, No. 4, December 2010.

What it’s about: This evaluation answers the questions, “Where are they now?” and “How are they doing?” about 31 former teen mothers who participated in the Mothers of Mount Sinai, or MOMS program about 10 years ago.  

Why read it: Teen mothers often drop out of high school, are less likely to pursue higher education, and often earn less on average than women who defer childbearing until later years. Despite these challenges, about 25 percent of teen mothers have a second child before age 20. Youth programs working to improve these and other outcomes may take away best practices from how this program adapted an evidence-based model to its population’s needs.

Biggest takeaways for youth workers: Originally modeled after the Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, a Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy “Top-Tier” evidence-based program, this secondary pregnancy prevention program involved a voluntary weekly support group, provided job training to pregnant and parenting teens, and encouraged education and reproductive health. It provided incentives for participation including transportation cards and small gifts for the children. The job training program included placement in Mount Sinai Hospital departments such as Nursing Education or Obstetrics/Gynecology. Participants also spoke in local high schools about their experiences as teenage mothers.

Of the 31 former participants who completed the survey, 81 percent graduated high school or earned a GED, 55 percent attended some college and 13 percent graduated college. Additionally, more of the participants had achieved self-sufficiency after the program than before. And 74 percent deferred subsequent childbearing until after age 20. Overall, participants felt that the program had improved their lives. Researchers concluded that programs that provide incentives for pregnant and parenting teens to participate, as well as education and job placement opportunities, may improve outcomes for these young mothers.

Additional reference: Karl Kallgren, director of the Union City Sustained Youth Development Project, talks to NCFY about the highly personalized youth program that has helped teen pregnancy rates drop by 20 percent in this rural Pennsylvania community.

And in The Exchange: A New Push for Teen Pregnancy Prevention, NCFY looks at different ways to approach teen pregnancy prevention, engaging young men in prevention efforts, and reaching out to teen mothers to delay subsequent pregnancies.

(Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of NCFY, FYSB or the Administration for Children and Families. Go to the NCFY literature database for abstracts of these and other publications.)

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