Answers — and Help — for Young Parents, Practitioners and Policymakers

Posted August 17, 2022, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Woman holds her son close on her lap as they both look at something on a laptop screen.

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 Prac­ti­tion­ers

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.

For Pol­i­cy­mak­ers

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.

Explore more resources on help­ing young par­ents thrive

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