Programs for Teen Mothers

By Tammy Quinn Mckillip
Teen moms need all the support they can get.
Teen moms need all the support they can get.

Raising a child on your own is challenging, especially if you're a teen. However, you can find programs that will support you in feeding, caring for and housing your child while you concentrate on work, school and learning how to be the best parent you can possibly be.

Covenant House

Covenant House's Mother/Child Program provides pregnant teens and teen mothers with housing, counseling and workshops in child-bearing and single parenthood. They also offer on-site day care, babysitting services and healthy lifestyle education. The nonprofit, which has 27 locations throughout the United States and Central America, seeks to help young mothers become stable and independent parents through mentoring and education.

Second Chance Homes

Second Chance Homes are administered through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, providing mothers under the age of 19 and their children with supervision, support and a safe living arrangement while they learn about child development, family budgeting, nutrition, parenting skills and good health practices. Some Second Chance Homes are short-term and transitional, while others offer long-term housing arrangements so a mother can prepare for her life as an independent, self-sufficient parent. In some circumstances, fathers are also invited to participate in parenting education, gain new skills, get assistance in finding employment and in helping with and forming a nurturing bond with their baby.

Women, Infants, and Children

The Women, Infants, and Children Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, serves up to 53 percent of all infants born in the United States and has 10,000 clinic sites throughout the country. WIC provides low-income pregnant, breastfeeding or postpartum mothers with health care referrals, counseling, screenings, social services and nutrition education. Each month, recipients of WIC may also receive vouchers, checks or electronic benefit cards to purchase specific foods that will supplement the nutrition needs in their diet. Teens remain eligible to receive these benefits up to 6 weeks after the end of their pregnancy; postpartum benefits continue up to 6 months after the birth of an infant. Breastfeeding teen mothers receive WIC benefits to supplement their nutritional needs until their child's first birthday. WIC Infant benefits cover formula and baby foods and continue until the baby is a year old. Children remain eligible for WIC benefits until their 5th birthday. WIC services are available at many hospitals, mobile clinics, schools, county health departments, public housing sites, Indian Health Service Facilities, and community centers.

Birthright International

Birthright is an international, 45-year-old nonprofit organization that offers free, confidential services to pregnant teens and mothers whose pregnancies were unplanned. In addition to their walk-in locations throughout Canada, the United States and Africa, they have a 24-hour hotline that offers advice and support to callers from anywhere in North America. The organization offers free pregnancy tests, maternity and baby clothing, emotional support and encouragement to pregnant teens and unwed moms. They give referrals to many pregnancy and parenting resources, including housing, medical supports, employment training and referrals, financial help, social assistance, education, legal aid and professional counseling services. In addition, they offer information on prenatal care, pregnancy, childbirth, adoption, parenting skills, childcare, child safety, career development and community and social programs and assistance.