Youth who receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and especially young adults of transition age, should be involved in planning for life after high school as early as possible and no later than age 16. Transition services should stem from the individual youth’s needs and strengths, ensuring that planning takes into account his or her interests, preferences, and desires for the future.
Healthy Relationships and Co-Parenting
The benefits of healthy relationships for expectant and parenting young families are multifaceted. Healthy relationship skills can improve communications among teen mothers and fathers and their family members and with each other. Whether they are in a romantic relationship or co-parents who are working together to raise their child, a healthy relationship between teen parents can help promote positive education and employment outcomes for both father and mother. It can also help promote their child’s positive development.1
Intimate Partner Violence/Teen Dating Violence
Expectant and parenting young mothers experience intimate partner violence, or teen dating violence, at higher rates than do older mothers.2 This population of adolescents is also likely to have experienced domestic violence during their childhood and which may have contributed to their teen pregnancy. Research has found that about 20 percent of pregnant teens report having experienced intimate partner violence.3
Role of Young Fathers
The involvement of teen fathers in the lives of their children has been shown to have a positive effect on their child’s social and cognitive development, which in turn has a positive effect on the child’s academic achievements.4 Additionally, teen mothers who feel supported by their partner are more likely to engage in positive health behaviors during their pregnancy and after giving birth.5 Young fathers are crucial to promoting positive outcomes for their family.
Dating Matters: Strategies to Promote Healthy Teen Relationships
This resource from the CDC provides information on a comprehensive teen dating violence prevention initiative.
Love Notes is a comprehensive healthy relationship education curriculum that teaches adolescents and young adults (14-24) how to build healthy romantic relationships, prevent dating violence, and improve impulse control. The program is designed to build young people's skills for cultivating healthy relationships, selves, and sexual behaviors: planning and pacing relationships and sex, self-efficacy and resilience around relationships, proven communication skills, and understanding how family formation impacts children. Love Notes consists of 13 one-hour lessons on decision-making, communication, and sexual and overall safety. The program can be delivered in multiple settings, such as community-based organizations, faith based agencies, community centers, social service agencies and resource centers in schools.
Resources for Serving Young Fathers
These resources are part of an Office of Adolescent Health (OAH), now Office of Population Affairs(OPA), technical assistance series on working with young fathers. These resources can help professionals who serve young fathers and their families to reach and engage more young fathers; influence research, practice, and policy to better address the needs of this population; and improve the lives of young fathers and their families.
Stronger Parents Brighter Futures
This OPA webpage describes how a Pregnancy Assistance Fund grantee in Virginia served young families through education-based support groups, co-parenting navigation and counseling, whole-family case management, and father participation.
1 Office of Adolescent Health, 2017
2 Bekaert & Smithbattle, 2016
3 Mylant & Mann, 2008
4 Howard, Lefever, Borkowski, & Whitman, 2006
5 Martin, McNamara, Milot, Halle, & Hair, 2007; Kalil, Ziol Guest, & Coley, 2005
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