Services provided were not enough to lift young mothers out of poverty or end welfare-dependency, and the impacts faded after the programs ended.

In 1986, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) launched the Teenage Parent Demonstration (TPD) to “test the feasibility and effects of requiring teenage parents on welfare to participate in activities aimed at achieving economic self-sufficiency in order to receive maximum welfare benefits. Public welfare agencies in Illinois and New Jersey were awarded grants to design and implement the TPD programs” (p. 1).

After three complex waves of welfare reform and five years as a demonstration project, the Mathematica Policy Research team published their evaluation findings of the TPD program in 1998. “The TPD programs demonstrated that it is possible to hasten welfare-dependent teenage mothers’ progress towards economic self-sufficiency, but the combination of participation requirements and support services they provided was not enough to lift young mothers out of poverty or end welfare-dependency, and the impacts faded after the programs ended” (p.175). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Full publication title: Moving into Adulthood: Were the impacts of mandatory programs for welfare-dependent teenage parents sustained after the programs ended?


Major Findings & Recommendations

“The first phase of the evaluation showed that states can operate large-scale, mandatory work-oriented programs for teenage parents. All three programs succeeded in identifying almost all eligible teenage parents when they first applied for AFDC for themselves and their child and enrolled most of these young mothers. In the short term, the programs had positive, although modest, impacts on economic self-sufficient-oriented activities. In the longer term, after program requirements and special services ended, the regular-services group caught up to those in the enhanced-services group, and programs impacts faded” (p.18). (Abstractor: Author)