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Welfare and Teen Pregnancy

Welfare and Teen Pregnancy

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Welfare and Teen Pregnancy
Welfare and Teen Pregnancy

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D
WELFARE
TEEN
PREGNANCY:
WHAT
DO
WE
KNOW?
WHAT
DO
WE
DO?
D
A
PUBLICATION
OF
THEADOLESCENT PREGNANCY
PREVENTION
CLEARINGHOUSE
D
NOVEMBER
1986
CHILDREN'S
DEFENSE
FUND
D
 
WHATISCDF?
he Children's Defense Fund (CDF)exists to provide a strong
and
effectivevoice forthechildren
of
America
who
canno
tvote,lobby,
or
speakfor themselves.
We
pay particularattention to theneeds
of
poOl;
minority,
and
handicapped children.
Our
goal
is
toeducatethe nation aboutthe needs
of
children
and
encourage preventiveinvestment inchildrenbeforetheyget sick,
drop
out
of
school,
or
get
intO
trouble.CDF
is
auniqueorganization. CDFfocuses
on
programs and policiesthataffectlarge numbers
of
children, rather than
on
helping
fan1ilies
on
a case-by-case basis.
Our
staffincludes specialistsin health,education, childwelfare,mental health,ch.ilddevelopment,
ado
lescentpregnancy prevention,
and
youth
emp
loyment.CDF gathers data
and
disseminatesinformation
on
key issues affectingchildren.
We
monitorthe
development
and
implementation
of
federal and statepolicies.
We
provide information,technicalassistance,
and
s
upport
toa network
of
state
and
localchildadvocates.
We
pursue
an
annuallegislativeagenda intheUnited States Congress
and
litigateselected cases
of
major importance.CDF
ed
ucates thousands
of
citizens annuallyaboutchildren'sneeds
and
responsiblepolicyoptionsfor meeting d10seneeds.CDF
is
a national organization
wid1
roots incommunities across America. Although
our
main office
is
in
hington,
D.C.,
we
reach
out
to towns
and
cities acrossthe
country
tomonitortheeffects
of
changes
in
national
and
WELFARE
AND
TEEN PREGNANCY:WHAT
DO
WE KNOW?WHAT
DO
WE
DO?
by
MaryLeeAllenand KarenPittman
2 WELFARE
AND
TEENPREGNANCY
statepOlicies
and
to help
peopleand
organizations
who
are
concerned
wid1
what
happenstochildren. CDFmaintainsstate officesin Mississippi and
Ohioand
stateprojects inMinnesota,
Texas,
andVirginia.CDFhas developedcooperativeprojectswith groupsin manystates.CDF
is
aprivateorganization
supportedby
foundations,corporate grants,
and
individualdonations.
CDF's
Adolescent
Pregnancy
Prevention
Initiative
n]anuary
1983,
CDFbeganamajor program initiative' to prevent teenpregnancy
and
to alleviate
d1e
range
of
problems facing
ado
lescent
and
femaleheaded householcls.CDF'sfirst priority
is
to prevent a teen's firstpregnancy.
Our
second
priority
is
toensurethat teens
who
already have had
one
child
do
not have a
second
child.
The
dllid priority
is
to makesurethat those babies
who
are
born
to teen mothersgetadequate prenatalcare
so
d1at
prematurity, low bird1weight,
and
birthdefectsare
not added
to their alreadystackeddecks.Underlying
our
entire effort
is
the
need
to
come
togripswid1
d1e
role
and
future
of
all
young
peop
le
in
our
society,
and
d1eir
need
foradequateskills
and
gainful
emp
loyment.
We
believeyoung
peop
lewith
hope
and
pOSitive
Life
options are
more
likely to delayearlyparenting.
WELFARE
AND
TEEN PREGNANCY:WHAT
DO
WE KNOW? WHAT
DO
WE
DO?
is
the November
1986
publication
of
d1e
Children's
Defense
Fund's
Adolescent Pregnancy
Preven-
tion
Clearinghouse.
For additionalcopies
of
d1is
report at$4 each,
or
foraone-year subscription(six issues)at
$17.95,
including postage,contact:Publications,Ch.ilclren'sDefense Fund,
122
C Str'eet,
N.W.,
~hington,
D.C.
20001,(202) 628,8787.
ClearinghouseDirector:Karen PittmanPublications Coordinator:
Donna
M.
JablonskiThisreport
is
the seventhina series
of
reports
on
adolescent pregnancy preventionthatCDF's Adolescent Pregnancy PreventionClearinghouse will produce.
The
reports arepart
of
theClearinghouse's effort to keepthoseworking
on
the many
components
of
the
prob
l
em
aware
of
importantissues
and
developments in the field.Each report
is,
in
many
ways, a calltoaction.CDF wantstoensure each child a successfuladulthood. Adolescent pregnancy robsmillions
of
youths
of
securefutures.
CDF,
mrough publiceducation
and
mediacampaigns,networking
and
coalitionbuilding,policy analysis
and
development,
and
carefullyselected action progran1S,
hopes
to helpmakeaclifference.
We
will
need
yourhelp.
We
have thebestvantage point for learning
what
is
going
on
atthe federal level,
but
we
needyou to
tell
us
what
is
going
on
inyour states
and
communities.
The
reports
we
write will
depend in
largepart
on
the information
we
receivefromthose
of
you
in
me
field
who
are advocates,legislators,programadministr<ltors,
and
deliverers
of
services.'Gl<ll1tsfrom the followingorganizations havemade this
new
programeffort possible:MacArthur, Rockefeller,Edna McConnellClark,New-Land,RobertSterling Clark, Ford, Packard,Helena Rubinstein,Samuel Rubin, vanAmeringen,Eugene and AgnesMeyer, Joyce, and the AndrewMellon Foundations
and
theCarnegie CorpOl<ltion
of
New York,
AT&T,
Merrill Lynch,
eyerhaeuser,~-
tinghouse, Ruth MottFund, Stanley RothTrust,
lhnity
Church Grants Program,
Ounce
of
PreventionFund,PhilipGraham Fund,
and
theCommonwealth Fund.
Children's
Defense
Fund
President: Marian WrightEdelman Executive Director: Peggy Lan1pl
Progl<lll1
Director: James
D. Weill
©
1986,
Children'sDefense FundDesign
by
RobinFoster-Krask,Optima Design, Inc.CoverDesign
by
Marilyn Kaufman
 
WELFARE
AND
TEEN
PREGNANCY:
WHAT
DO
WE
KNOW?
WHAT
DO
WE
DO?
INTRODUCTION
T
wo-thirds of Ame
ri
ca
nadul
ts
feel that teenage
pr
egnancyisa very se
ri
ouspro
bl
em,a
cco
rc
lin
gto arecentopinion
po
ll
co
nduct
ed
byLyn
ch
and
Associates. Me
cli
a coverage of the issueh
as
b
ee
n
ex
tensive,and
cli
seussions
and
debates
of
thecauses andconse
qu
ences of t
ee
nage
pr
egnancy and parentll
ood
co
ntinue.
Th
ereasons
put
f
or
tllareva
ri
ed
and
c
omp
lex,
but
,
<Umost
invaria
bl
y,
discussions
of
thena
ti
on
's
t
ee
nagepregnancy
prob
lemturn to
clisc
ussions
of
t
een
parents and
we
lfare.T
hi
s reportexaminesthefac
ts
and
misinforma
ti
on
a.
<;s
ociated with teenagepregnancy andwelfare.Dom
os
t t
ee
n parentse
nd upon
welfare? Does
we
l
fa
reinfluen
ce
teens'decisi
ons
abo
ut pr
egnanc
y,
or
childbear
ing,
or
mar
ri
age?Howlongdot
ee
nss
ta
y on welfare?
Ar
e
mo
stwelfareteens
ti
le
productof weiare
fumili
es?
How
mu
chc
OLtld
wesave if we
co
uldre
duce
the
number
of t
ee
nagershavingbabi
es?
Does
our
curre
nt
welfare system help
poo
r t
ee
n paren
ts
movetowardself
suffiC
iency? Can
it
?
Few
of
tllese ques
ti
o
ris
havedefinitiveanswers.
As
in
thedebate
abo
ut the causes
of
t
ee
nage
preg
nan
cy
itself,
clis
cussions
of
therela
ti
ons
hi
p berween teenage
pr
egnancy,md welfaredepe
nd
ency are cliscussions
ofv<t1
ues
as
we
ll
as
facts
and
research
finclin
gs
.
In answering themany ques
ti
ons
thatare
as
kedabout t
ee
rul
ge
pr
egnancy
and
we
lfar
edependency,
we
have
tri
ed tomake ouro
wn
interpretations clear, clisting
ui
shing basic factsfrom interpretations of resear
ch
anel
from
comme
n
ts
an
el
op
ini
ons.Cenmtl toan
Lmd
erstanding of the
qu
es
ti
ons
abo
ut t
ee
npregnancy
and
welfare,
and
to thede
vel
o
pm
ent
of
strategiestohelp t
ee
ns avoid earlyparenth
oo
d
and
helpteen parentsavo
id
lon
g-
termwelfare de
pend
ency isan
und
erstanding ofwhoteen parents are.
We
know
thatpoverty often followst
ee
nageparenth
oo
dbecauset
ee
nparen
ts
aremore
lik
elytobe singledlanarenon-t
ee
n paren
ts,
and
aremore
li
kelyto
dropout
of
s
ch
ooland,
co
nse
qu
entl
y,
havediffic
ul
tyfinding
emp
l
oym
e
nt
or
ea
rningabov
e-
poverty wages. Wekn
ow,
inoth
er
words,that
po
ve
rty
and
lackofe
du
ca
ti
onare o
ft
ena conse
qu
en
ce
of
te
en
age pare
ntho
od.But
po
verty
and
la
ckofe
du
ca
ti
onare also,researchsuggests, the primary
caus
es
of
teenageparenth
oo
d.In try
in
gto
id
entifythe routes
ont
owelfare,
it
is critical dlatwe examinethe rolethat tilelack
of
parental in
co
me
and
opp
ortunities,
and
lack
of
academic
and
employme
nt
-re
lat
eds
kill
s
and
op
po
rtunities amongteens, play
in
determiningwhich t
ee
ns b
eco
meparen
ts
andw
hi
ch teen parents enter tilewelfaresystem.
Te
ensfrom
poor
famili
es,m,
tl
e
and
fe
m<t1
e, and t
ee
ns with
poo
rbasic rea
clin
g a
nd
maths
kill
sareatgreater
ri
skof
C'M
ly parenth
ood
than aret
ee
nswithso
li
d skills
ortho
se
fr
omhigher in
co
mefamilies. These are thet
ee
ns
who
areleast
likel
yto
co
mplete success
full
y
ti
le
trans
iti
onout of
hi
ghsch
oo
l
and
intopostseco
nd
aryuaining orempl
oy
m
ent
.Poor16-to 1
9-
year-
old
youngwomen with belowave
ra
ge basic s
kills
are,
tlm
ostsix times
as likel
ytobeparents
as
are young
wo
menfromnon po
or
families
wh
ohave average orabove averageb
as
ic s
kills.
One in
fiv
ep
oo
r t
ee
nswitll belowaverage s
kill
sis aparen
t.
Th
e y
oun
gunmarried mothersreceivingAid to Families with
WHAT
DO
WE
KNOW
ABOUT
WELFARE?
The
term "welf,u-e"
is
most
oftenused
to
refer
to
a singleprogram -Aid
to
Families
with
Dependent Children
(AFDC).
Because
AFDC
recipients almost always are eligible for thefederal foods
t.1I11P
and
Meclicaid programs, estimates
of
welfare
co
sts sometimes include these as well.
The
federalshare
of
AFDC
in
1985 cost
S8.6
billion,
or
lessthan 1 percent
of
the total federal goveITm1ent expenditures. Although federalMedicaid expenditures in 1985 were$37.5 billion,only one quarter
of
this
amount
was for
dependent
children younger
than
21
or
adults in AFDC families. Federal food stamp
ex
penditures
were
S
11
.
7billion,
but
in 1984 fewer
than
half
of
<til
food
stamp reCipient housell0lds also were receivingAFDC.In 1985,3.7million poorfamilies, fewer thanhalf
of
<til
poor
fanlilies,received AFDC.Approxinlately
90
percent
of
thesef;mlilies
we
re headed by single parent
s.
About 67
percent
,
or
7.2million,
of
the10.8 million recipients in these familieswere children.
Of
AFDC families in 1983,3.3
percent
were
headed
by a
mother
or
other
person 18
or
younger. TIlis
proportion had
declined from3.8
percent
in 1979. Most AFDC mothers,61.5 percent, were 25 years
of
age
of
older.GoveITm1ent
(lat.1
do
not
tellus
how
many
adclition<t1
teen parentsy
ounger
than 18
or
19 are included as
dependents
in
AFDC
housel1olds h
ea
dedby their parents
or
other
adult relatives.Children in
two
-parent unemployed families are ineligible forAFDC in 25 states,regardless
of
how
desperately
poor
theyare.
In
st.1tes
that
do
have programs for two-parent
un
e
mplo
yedfamilies
(c<tlled
AFDC/UP),
young two-parent families are oftenineligible because teen parents have
not
been in the
work
forcelong
enough to meet the
special
and
restrictive AFDCIUPeligibility test.
The
average AFDC family includes
two
children. Almost threefourths (73.2 percent)
of
AFDC families have
onl
y
on
e
or
two
children.InJuly 1986, even the
combined
value
of
monthl
y
AFD
Candfood stanlP benefits for a f,milly
of
three
was
less
than
thefede
ral
povertylevelin
<til
states,lessthan
75
percent
of
thepovertylevelin
41
states,
and
lessthan half the poverty level in seven states.
WE
LFAR
E
AND
T
EEN
PR
EGNANCY3

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