The role of home visitation in improving outcomes for teenage mothers and their children: Evidence from the Teenage Parent Home Visitor Services Demonstration

Meredith Claire Kelsey, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Despite decades of policy interventions and research, adolescent childbearing continues to be one of the nation's greatest social problems. This dissertation presents findings from a federally funded demonstration project that was designed to fill some of the knowledge gap regarding the effectiveness of paraprofessional home visitation as a supplement to welfare support services. This large-scale, randomized field project operated in three U.S. cities over the three-year period 1995–1997. Serving representative samples of all first-time teenage mothers who entered the welfare system during this period, the demonstration programs aimed to reduce the incidence of repeat pregnancies among teenagers on welfare, enhance their parenting skills, and supplement the existing welfare-to-work program through the provision of weekly home visits made by paraprofessional home visitors. Results from this study indicate that paraprofessional home visitors were moderately successful in achieving some of the demonstration goals of improved self-sufficiency. However, the programs' effects were concentrated among specific program sites or sample subgroups. The demonstration programs did not lower the incidence of repeat pregnancy. However, they did promote greater use of condoms and of passive forms of contraception. The results are discussed in the context of the program implementation findings. This dissertation adds to the existing knowledge base regarding the efficacy of various strategies for improving outcomes for teenage mothers and their children. The results offer guidance to policy makers in making decisions as to whether or not states and/or local welfare offices should provide paraprofessional home visitor services as enhancements to existing welfare-to-work programs and, if they choose to provide paraprofessional home visitor services, how best to design, manage, and target the home visitor services.

Subject Area

Academic guidance counseling|Social work|Welfare

Recommended Citation

Kelsey, Meredith Claire, "The role of home visitation in improving outcomes for teenage mothers and their children: Evidence from the Teenage Parent Home Visitor Services Demonstration" (2000). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9965502.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI9965502

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