Sunday, May 15, 2011

Services for young mothers

Here is a paper by a student. The student writes about some services for young mothers in Illinois.

There is a major social problem that is affecting the State of Illinois today. This problem is the rate at which teenagers are becoming parents. According to a study done by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and Unplanned Pregnancy, in 2010 approximately 6.7% of females between the ages of 15 and 19 became pregnant in the state of Illinois. According to the March of Dimes, in 2006 more than 10% of all births in the United States were to teenage mothers.
Teenage pregnancy is such a major issue because of the many health risks as well as the risk of an impoverished future affecting both the mother and child. Babies born to teenage mothers are more likely to have low birth-weights, which can in turn lead to newborn health problems, long-term disabilities, or even death to the infant. Infants with low birth weights also run the risk of being born with organs that are not fully developed. Being born without fully developed organs could lead to breathing problems, bleeding of the brain, vision loss or even serious intestinal problems. Teenage mothers also face a greater risk of complications during pregnancy than do their non teenage counterparts. They face a higher chance of developing anemia, high blood pressure, and premature labor during their pregnancy.
Teenage pregnancy can also increase the chances of diminished futures for both mother and child. According to the March of Dimes, teenage mothers are more likely to drop out of school than are their peers who delay giving birth, even if both individuals come from the same social and economical backgrounds. Due to the fact that they drop out of school, teenage mothers may also tend to lack skills that would aid them in finding steady employment. As a result, they become financially dependent on their families or welfare assistance programs.
The Illinois Department of Human Services has many programs that target youth in Illinois. TPS, otherwise known as Teen Parent Services, is a program targeted at teens without a high school diploma or its equivalent and who are pregnant or already parenting. The program targets both male and female parents and in the year 2010, the TPS program aided approximately 6,387 teenage parents in Illinois. Teens who are receiving TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) benefits are required to participate in this program. The main purpose of the program is to encourage the acquirement of a high school diploma or the equivalent, lessen subsequent pregnancies, advance parenting skills, and boost the rate of immunizations, well baby visits, and screenings for developmental delays for the children of teenage parents. A number of services are provided to clients of TPS through individualized service plans. Each plan is developed from an assessment made of the client’s strengths, barriers, family issues, educational needs, and career goal exploration. From there, long and short-term goals are established.
            The Illinois Department of Human Services budget consists of about $6,346,019,000. Out of that total budget for the Human Services Department, the Teen Parent Services program budget consists of only about $102,646,900 according to Governor Quinn’s Fiscal Year 2011 Budget plan.
            Teenage parents can access these services through a number of approaches. When applying for TANF benefits, they will be required to participate in this program, otherwise many local health departments, community agencies or community colleges, and DHS offices provide information on how to obtain services. According to the Department of Human Services website, the TPS program has helped approximately 2130 teenage parents obtain their high school diploma or GED equivalent, as well as kept a 0.5% birth rate for subsequent births in program participants.

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