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Strengthening Supports for Young Parents and Their Children

Strengthening Supports for Young Parents and Their Children

This paper calls attention to young parents and their children who live in poverty, but far outside of the urban centers we’re most accustomed to hearing about. Their geographical isolation means they also live far away from the service system infrastructure and safety nets developed to support families in need and lift them out of poverty. Annually, about a million babies are born to suburban and rural teenagers and young adults, who increasingly find themselves struggling inside growing pockets of poverty.

To find out more about supporting young parent families in settings that are far from the usual targets of anti-poverty programs, CSSP sought out examples of innovative strategies in rural areas and low-income suburban locales. We scanned nationally for programs that employ an intentional two-generation approach to meeting the needs of young children and their parents, integrate services from multiple service providers and actively seek systems-level action for better housing, employment, education, health and mental health services for their participants.

Despite an astonishingly widespread lack of consistent resources, we found six promising programs that deserve to be better known and that have lessons to share.  The research makes clear that we have our work cut out for us.  This paper urges advocates, policymakers and foundations to expand resources for young parents generally, and specifically for this population. Important actions to take right now include widespread information-sharing about the dire needs of these communities: Americans need to know that while economic recovery is happening in much of the country, poverty and lost opportunity are becoming more commonplace in rural and suburban areas. Supporters also need to focus on using policy and practice to support a more seamless developmental approach across service sectors. These bright spots will also benefit from integrating new neuroscience findings into workforce strategies for young adults, and their communities will benefit from improved technology access.


INFOGRAPHIC - Challenges of Poverty & Early Parenting in Rural and Suburban Environments

strengthening supports infographic
Download and share this visual and statistical representation of the issues described in this paper.

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Explore the Report

Executive Summary

PART I: America's Young Families

PART II: Developmental Science Takes Center Stage

PART III: The Scan of Innovations

PART IV: Findings and Recommendations

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