Answers — and Help — for Young Parents, Practitioners and Policymakers
A new publication funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation shares valuable resources and information for young parents, the organizations that serve them and policymakers.
Serving Young Parents, created by the Urban Institute, draws on lessons from the organization’s partnership with Casey’s national Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP)™ initiative.
LEAP focuses on helping youth and young adults ages 14 to 25 who are juggling the demands of early parenthood, have experienced homelessness or crossed paths with the child welfare or juvenile justice systems. The initiative aims to help these youth succeed in school and at work by building and expanding supportive education and employment pathways.
According to the report’s authors, young parents and their supporters need tailored resources.
“New parents naturally have questions and needs when it comes to caring for their children,” says Ranita Jain, a senior associate with the Casey Foundation specializing in employment, education and training. “This resource guide not only provides important information and guidance for young parents, but also the individuals and organizations that work to better support them.”
For Young Parents
Within the resource guide, parents can find information and helpful links on a range of topics. Covered issues include pregnancy and childbirth, contraception, navigating the healthcare system, housing and shelter, child care and child development.
For individuals or groups seeking to support young parents, the guide offers information and best practices in several areas. This content covers:
- Tips on using a strengths-based approach when engaging young people who are pregnant. Practitioners should emphasize the skills or assets of young parents to create opportunities for success.
- Questions to ask young people who are pregnant. This includes questions from the Maternal Serum Screening Prenatal Screening Guide along with follow-up questions on prenatal care, childbirth plans and postnatal care.
- Guidance on administering and using child development assessments. This includes background on the Ages and Stages Questionnaire and tips for administering it.
- Wellness resources for young parents. This includes strategies for supporting young parents’ mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
- Models and help for young fathers. This includes practice models, networking options, parenting tips and other resources specifically for fathers.
- Educational institutions and programs that support student parents. This list identifies colleges and universities dedicated to supporting student parents along with a tool kit detailing practices that schools can implement to better support such students.
- Funding sources to help young parents advance their education or training. These resources – such as Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act State Plans and the SNAP to Skills food and nutrition service program – may help cover post-secondary education and training costs for young parents.
- Family-friendly careers for young people. This section considers a profession’s salary, benefits, work-life balance and other factors to help practitioners pinpoint the most family-friendly jobs.
Serving Young Parents also contains resources for elected officials, lawmakers and local leaders. This section offers guidance on policies that best support young parents, including:
- Identifying models that facilitate access to parental leave;
- Using the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to support the education and training goals of young adults;
- Sharing resources on offsetting child care co-pays for students who receive child care subsidies; and
- Recognizing how educational institutions and their partners can better support students with children.