Online Program

Vulnerable teen parents: Juxtaposing the needs of infants with the tasks of adolescence

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Lisa Lieberman, PhD, CHES, Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
Linda Lausell Bryant, MSW, Ph.D., Inwood House, New York, NY
Teens in foster care give birth at over twice the rate of other teen girls. Significant challenges exist for these most vulnerable teens and their babies. In order to preserve their families, programs and services need to be able to improve their prospects for parenting success, delay subsequent pregnancies, and reduce the likelihood of inter-generational placement in care. Programs for such vulnerable teen parents must be able to balance the developmental needs of adolescents, e.g. strong connections to peers/focus on identity and moral growth, with the adult tasks of parenting, e.g. setting aside their needs for those of an infant. A study taking place in two NYC child welfare agencies was designed to follow pregnant and parenting teens over the first two years of their babies' lives. In-person interviews, supported by a unique computer-assisted data recording technique, take place at baseline, post-partum, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. To date, twenty pregnant teens have been interviewed at baseline and ten have reached the post-partum interview. Preliminary analysis of their responses to AAPI and additional parenting measures suggest that, while the teens overwhelmingly understood babies' needs for safety and security, more than half expressed agreement with measures related to children's roles in comforting or understanding their parents' needs. These data speak directly to the challenges of the conflicting developmental demands of teen parenting. Implications of these data will be discussed, for programs and services for the most vulnerable teen parents to facilitate the health, safety, and development of their infants.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify the incongruity between the needs of infants and the developmental tasks of the teens who are their parents; Describe and discuss the implications of the parenting attitudes and beliefs of a a particularly vulnerable group of young parents, teens in foster care

Keyword(s): Teen Pregnancy, Infant Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator of a study of pregnant and parenting teens in the NYC Foster Care system and have engaged in research on teen pregnancy and teen pregnancy prevention for more than 15 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.