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Exploring Solutions for Parenting Youth in Foster Care

PUBLISHED: Jul 17, 2023

Photo Credit: California Youth Connection, pictured project team members

A deeper understanding of the barriers people face towards prosperity is critical to informing investments, new ideas, and changing the conditions that will prevent poverty from occurring in the first place. To do this, Tipping Point funds research on poverty-related issues to increase our impact in the Bay Area.  

Parenting and Pregnant Youth in Foster Care: Exploring the Challenges and Solutions

Research has shown that young people in foster care have higher rates of pregnancy and parenthood. While pregnancy and parenting can be challenging experiences for anyone, they are even more complicated for youth in the foster care system due to a lack of support and resources. This area remains relatively under-researched despite many foster youth facing unique obstacles to raising children. Tipping Point supported California Youth Connection (CYC), a Better Futures for Foster Youth project grantee in the following paper that highlights the most prevalent challenges that foster youth in California see as barriers to healthy maternal and child health.

Challenges Parenting and Pregnant Youth in Foster Care Face: 

  • Access to high quality child care continues to be a challenge for parenting foster youth who must rely on friends and family or other unlicensed care options to look after their children.
  • Service providers lack culturally appropriate staffing or resources to support the needs of parenting youth of color.
  • In preparation for parenthood, foster youth can benefit from mental health support to assuage emotional pain and postpartum stress on top of healing needed from past traumatic experiences. 

The research and survey led by CYC summarizes common themes and findings from the experiences of parenting youth across the state, highlighting the need to support youth with critical information and resources pertaining to safe sex practices, pregnancy, and preparing youth for parenthood. CYC’s unique approach to the survey allowed parenting youth themselves the opportunity to lead the research with their peers, ensuring that advocates with lived experience give voice to policy recommendations to support current and future parenting youth. The research also provides recommended policies that can help interrupt foundational issues of instability and intergenerational foster care and ultimately improve the lives of children in the foster care system.

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