By the time she turned 18 and left the care of Montgomery County Children Services, Jackson and her son had lived in seven foster homes. Because of cases like this one, the county set up two social worker positions to assist teen mothers and their foster parents, said Mary Anne Nelson, interim assistant director for Children Services; and Peggy Weller, supervisor of adolescent services. Only a tiny percentage — 24 cases in Montgomery County — involve moms who are themselves in foster care. Social worker Annie Williams said most of the teen moms became pregnant after entering foster care — in some cases on purpose. They admitted trying to get pregnant, she said, so they could love someone who loves them back.
What are some strategies for supporting pregnant and parenting teens in foster care?
Teen mothers in foster care have high risk of losing custody of babies - Reuters
In the United States today, teens in foster care give birth at twice the rate of teens in traditional homes. Whether they enter foster care already pregnant—many are kicked out of their homes—or conceive while they are in the system, teenage mothers in foster care face distinct challenges. Because the foster care system was designed to protect children from abuse and neglect but not to raise them, the kinds of services required by teens who are pregnant or new mothers are not readily available. Historically, girls who became pregnant would be moved to a congregate care facility, in which groups of girls who are pregnant or new mothers live together in housing designed to meet their specific needs, a model that many viewed as a warehousing approach. Some specially trained families offer mother-baby foster homes, but those are limited in number. For many, the biggest concern is intergenerational foster care, meaning that their infants might end up in the system themselves.
Teen mothers in foster care have high risk of losing custody of babies
It feels like I called everyone. Please, can you take her in? Even for a few days. We have nowhere to place her.
Regardless of involvement in foster care, all teen parents need support in becoming a parent and successfully navigating the developmental stages of adolescence. Teenagers experience significant changes related to cognitive, emotional, and physical maturity as the brain continues to develop into their mids. As a result, all teen parents need strong support networks and resources in order to develop into successful adults and to parent effectively. Teen parents in foster care face additional challenges that are unique to their situation. Teens in foster care are less likely to finish their schooling and more likely to suffer from mental illness, unemployment, and homelessness than teens not in foster care.