BALTIMORE, Sept. 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Annie E. Casey Foundation today reminded policymakers and child advocates of the barriers young families face — and potential solutions that can help them thrive — with the release of 'Opening Doors for Young Parents,' the latest KIDS COUNT® policy report.
The fifty-state report spotlights a population of more than 6 million, including 2.9 million young adult parents, ages 18 to 24, and 3.4 million children nationwide living with young parents. With limited access to opportunities to advance their education and find a family-sustaining job, young parents face barriers to supporting their children and fulfilling their own potential.
(Editors: State data are available.)
"If we don't support young people when they become parents, we are cheating two generations out of having a positive future," warned Casey Foundation President and CEO Patrick McCarthy. "We can help young adult parents develop the skills they need to raise their children, contribute to their communities and drive our national economy forward."
Roughly 70 percent of children with young adult parents live in families with incomes less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. More than half of young parents (55 percent) are people of color, facing challenges exacerbated by discrimination and systemic inequities.
Oklahoma has the largest percentage of young adult parents: 18 percent of Oklahomans ages 18 to 24 are parents, followed by Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and New Mexico (each with 16 percent).
In Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi and Wisconsin, at least three quarters of the children of young adult parents live in families with incomes less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
The report offers recommendations to equip young adult parents for success:
- Help young parents pursue education and employment
- Help young parents achieve financial stability, including by expanding access to federal and state Earned Income Tax Credit
- Help young parents with child development and healthy parenting
- Keep families together and promote success for young parents involved in public systems
'Opening Doors for Young Parents' — and state-by-state news releases — can be found at https://www.aecf.org/resources/opening-doors-for-young-parents.
SOURCE The Annie E. Casey Foundation