Avoiding the "doomed to poverty" narrative: Words of wisdom from teenage single mothers

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Avoiding the "doomed to poverty" narrative: Words of wisdom from teenage single mothers

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Title: Avoiding the "doomed to poverty" narrative: Words of wisdom from teenage single mothers
Author: Byrd, Deborah; Gallagher, R.
Abstract: This essay gives a voice to nine U.S. mothers in their late teens and early twenties who became pregnant during or right before they entered high school. All chose to bear and rear their children as single mothers, and as teens all chose to participate in a holistic, school-based mentoring and empowerment program called the Family Development Research Program. The essay opens with a brief discussion of the origins and objectives of the FDRP and with proof of this "wraparound" program's success.In the remainder of the essay, the nine young mothers evaluate the role that the FDRP played in helping them learn how to successfully balance good parenting with the pursuit of ambitious academic goals. They single out four components of the FDRP as especially critical to their success: easy access to affordable, high-quality childcare; mentoring by non-judgmental adults who are knowledgeable about the issues faced by most teen mothers; the opportunity to form support networks with other young moms; and an emphasis on education as an effective route to economic self-sufficiency. Significantly, the views of these nine teen mothers substantiate the conclusions of contemporary scholars seeking to identify the essential features of "best practices" empowerment programming for teen mothers (and other "at risk" youth) living in the United States.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10385/877
Date: 2009

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