We work with child welfare systems to best support young parents and their children and to create opportunities through which these young families can succeed and thrive.
A multi-generational approach. Policies and practices are responsive to three generations including the adolescent parents, their young children and the other adults who care for and support them.
Tools that are developmentally driven. Policies and practices are informed by principles of healthy adolescent brain development, and early childhood development.
Tools that are trauma-informed and centered around healing. Policies and practices recognize the impact of trauma on development and incorporate strategies for screening, addressing trauma symptoms and supporting and promoting healing.
The voices and views of young people. Policies and practices are informed by youth voice.
A focus on our Protective and Promotive Factors. Policies and practices create opportunities that support well-being, healthy development, and strengthen young families.
Evidence-informed approaches to our work. Policies and practices are informed by research, evidence of effectiveness and credible theory. Results- based and learning and accountability driven: Policies and practices incorporate strategies for data collection, analysis and tracking of results, as well as generating new knowledge for the field.
Results-based and learning and accountability driven. Policies and practices incorporate strategies for data collection, analysis and tracking of results, as well as generating new knowledge for the field.
An equity-centered approach to our work. Policies and practices are explicit in achieving equity.
Through this work, we hope to transform the child welfare system and, in particular, how it supports expectant and parenting youth, their children, and their families while they are in the foster care system and in their transition to adulthood. We specifically hope to see the following changes:
Child welfare systems:
- Adoption of systematic, strengths-based data collection protocols that can holistically assess the needs of mothers, fathers, and their children.
- Methods to increase identification and engagement of young fathers in services and supports.
- Increase in the creation and use of youth advisory boards that include expectant and parenting youth.
- Early preparation and ongoing support in transition out of foster care.
Safe, healthy, and thriving young families, which includes an:
- Increase in the number of expectant and parenting youth reporting access to a supportive social network.
- Increase in the rate of expectant and parenting youth graduating high school and enrolling in post-secondary education/vocational schools.
- Delayed subsequent unplanned pregnancies.
- Decrease in substantiated child abuse and neglect reports against expectant and parenting youth.
- Increase in rate of healthy births for children of expectant and parenting youth.
- Increase in enrollment of children of expectant and parenting youth in early care and educations programs.
This training is a research-informed approach to support expectant and parenting youth, their children, and families. It is designed to help families succeed and thrive, enhance child development, and reduce the likelihood of abuse and neglect among young parents (for our purposes, we classify “young parents” as those who are under the age of 26 with young children under the age of five). Families Thrive is supported by two research-informed frameworks developed by CSSP: Strengthening Families and Youth Thrive.
Families Thrive Organizational Self-Assessment Tool. The Families Thrive Self-Assessment tool is designed for community-based organizations committed to working with and supporting expectant and parenting youth, their children, and families. It is modeled after a series of assessment tools developed for the Strengthening Families approach. The tool allows organizations to compare their practice to exemplary practice in child and adolescent development drawn from both the research and diverse community organizations across the country and is designed to:
- Engage youth and caregivers in meaningful conversations about how the organization is supporting the developmental needs of young parents and their children;
- Systematically reflect on areas of organizational strength and identify areas for further growth and improvement; and
- Develop an action plan that identifies action steps and mechanisms for tracking progress.
The Families Thrive Self-Assessment tool includes concrete actions that demonstrate how the Protective and Promotive Factors Framework can be implemented through small but significant changes in an organization’s physical environment, operating policies, practices and/or staff development.
Connecting the Dots: A Resource Guide for Meeting the Needs of Expectant and Parenting Youth, their Children, and their Families
This guide provides stakeholders with information on a wide range of interventions that meet the comprehensive needs of EPY, prevent child abuse and neglect of their children, and improve parent and child well-being outcomes.
Family First Prevention Services Act: Pregnant & Parenting Youth FAQs
The Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) was signed into law on February 9, 2018. The FAQs in this brief provide responses to the most commonly asked questions related to this population.
Young Fathers Convening
This video is an excerpt highlighting discussions among adolescent fathers and service providers on the topic of co-parenting.
Understanding the Developmental Needs of Expectant and Parenting Youth
This video discusses Dr. Charlyn Harper Browne's paper, which delineates the developmental needs of EPY populations across five domains: sexual and reproductive health, cognitive and emotional development, identity, social development, and preparation.
Effectively Engaging Young Fathers in Child Welfare
This video highlights the voices of four fathers involved in the New York City child welfare system. These fathers detail their experience in the child welfare system as fathers and co-parents.
Expectant and Parenting Youth: Inaugural Webinar
This webinar discusses implications of Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standards under the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (H.R.4980) for expectant and parenting youth and their children in foster care.
Creating Opportunities for Expectant and Parenting Youth: A Co-Parenting Approach
This webinar presents findings from the Young Parenthood Project, designed to test the efficacy of a co-parenting counseling program for parenting and expecting adolescents. It discusses the implementation, challenges, and implications involved.
Expectant and Parenting Youth: Lessons from the Field
This webinar presents an approach to ensuring that every EPY is connected to a mentor—including collaborative partnerships creating a shared system for recruitment, capacity building, tracking impact, and continuous quality improvement.
A Multi-Generational Approach to Addressing the Educational Needs of Expectant and Parenting Youth
In this webinar, Marylouise Kuti presents a school-based model focusing on needs of adolescent parents and their children. The model incorporates case management, home visitation, and access to child development centers.
Your Rights Related to Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH): A Guide for Youth in Care
This report is one of three in a compendium of SRH guidance and resources for child welfare jurisdictions. It offers a means of helping youth understand their SRH care rights.
Sexual and Reproductive Health of Youth in Out-of-Home Care: A Policy and Practice Framework for Child Welfare
This report is the cornerstone of a three-part compendium of sexual and reproductive health guidance and resources for child welfare jurisdictions. It is intended for child welfare leadership and policy makers.
Pregnant & Parenting Youth in Foster Care: A Case for Services and Quality Legal Representation
This brief works to resolve conflicts occurring when the public agency responsible for protecting and advocating for youth in foster care is also responsible for charging that youth with neglect or abuse.
Improving Health Care Services: Opportunities within Medicaid to Support Child Welfare Involved Expectant and Parenting Youth and Their Children
This report offers several strategies states should pursue to maximize the health and well-being of adolescent parents who have experienced foster care and their children.
Expectant and Parenting Youth Developmental Needs: Paper
This report outlines how to best serve expectant and parenting youth in foster care—listing five domains crucial to developmental needs that create positive experiences and mitigate or prevent adverse outcomes.
Expectant and Parenting Youth Developmental Needs: Executive Summary
This brief overviews a series on expectant and parenting youth in foster care. It outlines five domains crucial to developmental needs that create positive experiences and mitigate or prevent adverse outcomes.
Expectant and Parenting Youth Developmental Needs: Domain V
This brief, the final of five, discusses the preparation required to prepare foster youth in their transition to adulthood through education, building healthy life skills, and becoming nurturing parents.
Expectant and Parenting Youth Developmental Needs: Domain IV
This brief, the fourth of five, discusses the importance of building and sustaining relationships/community with trustful and supportive family members, adults, peers, and the co-parent if safe and appropriate.
Expectant and Parenting Youth Developmental Needs: Domain III
This brief, the third of five, discusses the importance of forging positive personal and parental identities and having experiences that enable one to feel like a “normal” adolescent.
Expectant and Parenting Youth Developmental Needs: Domain II
This brief, the second of five, discusses the difficulty in motivating expectant youth, especially those in foster care, to seek medical, contraceptive, and reproductive health care and information.
Expectant and Parenting Youth Developmental Needs: Domain I
This brief, the first of five, discusses the need for foster parents to be approachable and prepared with information to discuss sensitive sexual issues with youth in care.
Changing Systems and Practice for Young Fathers to Improve Outcomes for Young Fathers, Their Children, and Their Families
This report makes recommendations for child welfare system policy and practice changes that recognize the critical role young fathers can play in improving the outcomes of their children and families.
Supporting the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Youth in Out-of-Home Care: A Guide for Caseworkers
This report provides information and resources designed to help caseworkers effectively support youth around issues of sexual and reproductive health—from rights and privacy to case planning and decision-making.