Teen parents often face overwhelming economic and social challenges. They have an increased risk of dropping out of school, and teen mothers are more likely to be single parents—a condition associated with higher rates of poverty.
A second birth during her teen years greatly increases the negative social, educational, and health consequences for both the young mother and her children. Texas has the highest rate of repeat teen birth among all states.
The Tandem Teen Prenatal & Parenting Program is an interagency collaboration led by People’s and designed to promote the health and well-being of young families and reduce their risk of subsequent unplanned pregnancies. The Tandem team provides medical, educational, and psychosocial support to low-income young parents and their children from pregnancy through the first three years of their baby’s life. By partnering with Any Baby Can, Austin Child Guidance Center, and LifeWorks, the program is able to offer a comprehensive array of services to young parents including intensive case management, mental health services, medical care and prenatal, child development, family planning, and parenting education.
For over 15 years, Tandem has been particularly effective in promoting positive health behaviors among its participants. More than 85 percent of participants in the program for at least 6 months participate in ongoing educational achievement or progress toward self-sufficiency. Tandem’s effectiveness in promoting increased contraceptive use has been reflected in a low rate of subsequent pregnancies. An annual average of 5.8 percent of active Tandem participants become pregnant again within a year compared with 22 percent statewide.
Robin Rosell, LSW