Crow Wing County recently released the results of a four-year study completed on teen parents participating in the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP).
In 2007 the MFIP Teen Parent Program was implemented to assist young parents in achieving self sufficiency and family stability. Utilizing a pro-active approach, teens were assigned to a social worker soon after they entered the system. The social worker provided intensive case management services, evaluated progress and encouraged the participants to meet their goals.
For the time period of 2008 through 2011, Crow Wing County reported the following results:
• 84 percent of the teen parents had not returned to MFIP within one year after exiting the program.
• 51 percent had graduated from high school or earned their high school equivalency compared to the state average of 30 percent.
• 33 percent were sanctioned during their time on the program or within one year after completion compared to a 50 percent state average.
• 16 percent had some child protection involvement during or within one year after they exited the program. State averages for all MFIP caregivers, not just teens, ranged from 12 percent to 19 percent.
Crow Wing County targeted this group for several reasons, according to Joan Hasskamp, financial assistance supervisor.
“Studies show that teen moms tend to have children that later show up in the system, perpetuating generational poverty,” Hasskamp said in a news release. “Early intervention has been shown to reduce long-term dependency and child protection concerns and cost.”
A total of 49 teen caregivers participated in the program. Hasskamp said the major goals of the program were to increase graduation rates, reduce child protection involvement, reduce the number of sanctions and reduce long-term dependency.
“The most striking result of the program so far is that 84 percent of the caregivers have not returned to MFIP within one year after exiting the program,” Hasskamp said.
Currently 15 teens are enrolled in the program. According to Kaylo Brooks, MFIP social worker, six have received their high school diploma, six are in school and six are employed.
“By providing young parents with a holistic program that addresses positive parenting, physical and mental health, housing, employment and education, these families are able to become increasingly independent and self-sufficient,” Brooks said.
For more information related to MFIP or other public assistance programs, call 824-1250 or visit www.co.crow-wing.mn.us.