Studies of facilities such as Second Chance Homes – a new version of maternity group homes that provide a supportive place for pregnant and parenting teens – have been mostly descriptive and not sufficiently rigorous to determine whether they can be considered effective, according to this new study from Child Trends.
Researchers found that while the mission and ideas of such organizations re important, there has not been sufficient study to see if they are effectively reaching their goals. Group homes such as Second Chance Homes help with childbearing and offer services such as child care, health care, transportation, counseling, parenting and life-skills classes.
Previous studies have shown that children of teen mothers have more problems than children of older mothers because of factors such as: low income, family instability, less emotional support or a teen parent finding parenting more stressful.
Studies have also shown that children of teen mothers have lower math and reading and/or vocabulary scores than children of older mothers, and have lower odds of completing high school.
According to the report, the problem with most studies covering these programs is they are mainly descriptive, citing the numbers of mothers and children served and describing delivery methods.
The few that actually document outcomes pull from a very small group of mothers who were either still in the program or trackable afterwards. Nothing is known about the outcomes for mothers who left the program early or could not be found for a follow-up. Those studies also rely solely on what the participants said about their experiences.