Roughly 70% of children with young adult parents live in low-income families




Laura Speer, Associate Director for Policy Reform and Advocacy, Annie E. Casey Foundation

(Baltimore, MD, Tuesday, September 25, 2018) – The Annie E. Casey Foundation is warning policymakers and child advocates of the barriers young families face — and potential solutions that can help them to thrive.

  • The Foundation is releasing the Opening Doors for Young Parents report the latest KIDS COUNT policy report on Tuesday, September 25, 2018.
  • 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.
  • Roughly 70% of children with young adult parents live in low-income families (those are families with incomes less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level).

The Foundation emphasizes that without adequate support and resources, young parents and their children are at risk of being left behind permanently. The report underscores the following trends as well as areas of concern:

• Education can make a significant difference in earning power for families; single mothers with associate degrees earn an average of $152,927 more over their lifetimes than high school graduates, and $296,044 more with bachelor’s degrees. Young parents, however, are less likely to be in school than nonparents their age and more likely to be working full time.

• Family-sustaining jobs increasingly require postsecondary education and specialized skills, and young parents who have limited resources, education and time are unable to stay competitive in this workforce landscape. The median family income of families with parents ages 18 to 24 is $23,000, barely above the federal poverty line for a family of three.

• Inflexible programs and lack of access to supportive services remain barriers to opportunity and family stability for young parents. Just five percent of young parents receive childcare subsidies, even though 63 percent require child care, and 41 percent of young parents attributed jobless spells to challenges with child care.

• Young parents are more susceptible to psychological distress, yet many young parents have limited or no access to mental health services.

• Fathers have a critical influence on children’s development, whether or not they live together, but they are often left out of programs to support young families.

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