Navigating the child welfare system while expecting or raising a child can be challenging. Expectant and parenting youth in care have unique needs related to their physical, emotional, social, and financial health that require individualized support. Because of their involvement with child welfare and their age, they also often face oversurveillance and scrutiny that other parents do not experience.
Child welfare professionals and others working with expectant and parenting youth should partner with these young people and offer services and supports that are strength-based, consistent, and unbiased. They should also respect the young person’s autonomy to make decisions for their family.
Child welfare professionals can build resilience and social connections among all young parents, including fathers, by offering supports that enhance parent education, parent-child relationships, economic self-sufficiency, and two-generation outcomes. With strong support networks and equitable access to services, expectant and parenting youth in care can be better prepared to balance their school, work, and home lives and overcome challenges.