Expectant and Parenting Youth in Foster Care
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. Policies and practices recognize the impact of trauma on development and incorporate strategies for screening, addressing trauma symptoms and supporting 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 for 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.
An equity-centered approach to our work. Policies and practices are explicit in the goal to achieve equity.
An equity-centered approach to our work. Policies and practices are explicit in achieving equity.
EPY in Foster Care Outcomes
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. 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.
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.
EPY in Foster Care Partners
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.
EPY in Foster Care Learning Collective
The Expectant and Parenting Youth in Foster Care Learning Collective is an interactive virtual forum where professionals can exchange ideas, information, and resources on innovative approaches and policies to improving well-being outcomes for expectant and parenting youth in foster care and their children.
Get more information and sign up here.