Family Planning Perspectives
The Teen Father Collaboration, a two-year national research and demonstration project launched in 1983, was designed to determine the most effective ways to assist teenage fathers in contributing to their children's social, emotional and financial well-being. Eight social service agencies from around the country provided nearly 400 young fathers and prospective fathers--most 17 or 18 years of age--with a variety of services, including counseling, educational assistance and job training. Many young fathers wanted to contribute financially to their children's upbringing but had only a limited ability to do so because they were unemployed or needed job training. By the end of the project, 56 previously unemployed participants had taken part-time jobs, and 92 participants had found full-time employment; nearly half of the non-graduates who were not enrolled in school when they entered the program had returned to school, had obtained their GEDs or had enrolled in GED classes by the time the Collaboration ended. An aggressive approach to recruitment and a good knowledge of the community were considered to have been crucial to the success of the programs: Staff members had to be able to go into the community and reach young men on a one-to-one basis. The experiences of the agencies indicate that a man in his 20s or 30s from the same ethnic and cultural background as the teen-age clients usually succeeded best as a counselor. The study also shows that ambivalence on the part of a cooperating agency was probably the most important factor hindering the efforts of the Collaboration. (Author abstract)
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