Teen pregnancy in foster care is disturbingly high. Often, the children born to these young parents are vulnerable to a continued cycle of child welfare involvement. The services and supports provided to youth in the custody of the state should be improved to ensure foster youth are empowered to make healthy decisions and prepared for long-term success.
Teen Parenting in Foster Care
Children placed in the foster care system face many barriers to lifelong success and studies show high correlations between involvement in the foster care system and incidences of homelessness, joblessness and poverty. Foster youth are particularly vulnerable to becoming teenage parents due to their trauma history, instability, and inconsistent therapeutic services and supports. The teen birth rate for girls in foster care is twice that of the general population. The Midwest Evaluation, a Chapin Hall longitudinal study of three states, found nearly half of all girls who lived in foster care are pregnant at least once by age 19. Additionally, approximately half of 21-year-old men aging out of foster care reported getting a partner pregnant compared to 19 percent of their peers not in foster care. To ensure youth in foster care are less vulnerable to risky behaviors and unintended pregnancies, our state must strengthen efforts to address the developmental, social, and emotional needs of children removed from their home due to abuse and neglect and placed in the custody of the state.