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November 2012Vol. 13, No. 10Measuring Success in Teen Parenting Programs

To combat the negative long-term consequences associated with teen pregnancy and parenting, it is important to identify evidence-based programs that promote the well-being of teenage parents and their children. Child Trends recently published a research brief that reviews 20 parenting programs aimed at educating teenage mothers and providing them with the tools to ensure the well-being of their children. Based on Child Trends' database of social intervention studies for children and youth, the study assessed findings in the following six outcome areas:

  • Child Outcomes: Health
  • Child Outcomes: Behaviors and Development
  • Parent Outcomes: Reproductive Health
  • Parent Outcomes: Mental Health and Behaviors
  • Parent Outcomes: Education, Employment, and Income
  • Parenting Outcomes

Results were grouped into three quality categories according to their ratings for specific outcomes: programs that were found to work, programs that had mixed findings, and programs that were not found to work for specific outcomes. 

The authors point out that several programs had significant impact on child and parent outcomes. Some interventions were particularly successful in reducing child problem behaviors, modifying parents' expectations for children, and improving the overall home environment. The home visiting model and prenatal component proved to be successful approaches.

Further research is needed to demonstrate the effectiveness of parent education programs and especially their impact on preterm births, hospitalization, parent mental health, substance use, education, and employment.

What Works for Disadvantaged and Adolescent Parent Programs: Lessons From Experimental Evaluations of Social Programs and Interventions for Children, by Alison Chrisler and Kristin Moore, is available on the Child Trends website: (957 KB)