Tag Archives: Single Parents

University of Buffalo study: Pop-culture news helped destigmatize out-of-wedlock childbirth

1 Nov

The increased rate of poverty has profound implications if this society believes that ALL children have the right to a good basic education. Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Because children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family. There is a lot of economic stress in the country now because of unemployment and underemployment. Children feel the stress of their parents and they worry about how stable their family and living situation is.

Science Daily reported Single mothers much more likely to live in poverty than single fathers, study finds:

Single mothers earn significantly less than single fathers, and they’re penalized for each additional child they have even though the income of single fathers remains the same or increases with each added child in their family. Men also make more for every additional year they invest in education, further widening the gender gap, reports a University of Illinois study.
“Single mothers earn about two-thirds of what single fathers earn. Even when we control for such variables as occupation, numbers of hours worked, education, and social capital, the income gap does not decrease by much. Single mothers are far more likely to live in poverty than single fathers, and they do not catch up over time,” said Karen Kramer, a U of I assistant professor of family studies.

In 2012, 28 percent of all U.S. children lived with one parent. Of that number, 4.24 million single mothers lived below the poverty line compared to 404,000 single fathers, she noted.
The single most important factor that allows single-parent families to get out of poverty is working full-time, she said. “A 2011 study shows that in single-parent families below the poverty line at the end, only 15.1 percent were employed full-time year-round.”

Previous studies show that 39 percent of working single mothers report receiving unearned income, assumed to be child support. That means fathers are contributing only 28 percent of child-rearing costs in single-mother households, she said.
The pathway into single-parent households differs by gender, she said. “Single fathers are more likely to become single parents as the result of a divorce; single mothers are more likely never to have been married,” she explained.

“Divorced single parents tend to be better off financially and are more educated than their never-married counterparts. The most common living arrangement for children after a divorce is for mothers to have custody. Single fathers with custody are more likely to have a cohabiting partner than single mothers, and that partner is probably at least sharing household tasks. Single mothers are more likely to be doing everything on their own,” she said.

Often single mothers have both the stress of raising children alone and crippling financial stress, she added….. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150831163743.htm

Citation:

Single mothers much more likely to live in poverty than single fathers, study finds

Date: August 31, 2015

Source: University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Summary:

Single mothers earn significantly less than single fathers, and they are penalized for each additional child they have even though the income of single fathers remains the same or increases with each added child in their family. Men also make more for every additional year they invest in education, further widening the gender gap, reports a new study.

A University of Buffalo study concluded pop culture influenced the decision toward single parenthood.

Science Daily reported in Pop-culture news helped destigmatize out-of-wedlock childbirth:

Celebrity news reports over the past four decades appear to have contributed to the changing makeup of the traditional American family by helping to destigmatize out-of-wedlock childbirths in the United States, according to a study by a University at Buffalo sociologist.

“Celebrities typically did not apologize for getting pregnant outside of marriage,” says Hanna Grol-Prokopczyk, an assistant professor of sociology. “But the family model also changed over time. The early model dictated that you should marry by the time the baby is born. By the mid-2000s that had changed, and it became widely acceptable in the celebrity world to have a child without marrying first.”

With People magazine as her proxy for popular culture news coverage, Grol-Prokopczyk analyzed nearly 400 cover stories dating from People’s 1974 premier issue to the present to learn when the interest in celebrity pregnancies started and how the magazine’s presentation of family norms changed over time….

“I used People magazine because it’s reputable in the sense that it doesn’t publish fictional stories; it has been in continuous circulation for over 40 years; and it remains one of the most widely circulating magazines in the country,” says Grol-Prokopczyk. “It also has a strong online presence, with as many as 72 million unique views in a given month.”

Grol-Prokopczyk’s curiosity about the media’s fascination with celebrity baby news began when she was pregnant with her first child. She signed up for news alerts, expecting to get medical and nutrition stories relevant to expectant mothers, but instead received mostly news reports about celebrity pregnancies. “Academics often scoff at celebrity news, but in fact there’s evidence that celebrity culture is enormously influential in changing norms and has a very wide reach,” she says. “For example, after Angelina Jolie wrote an op-ed after having her preventative mastectomy, a survey conducted weeks later found that 74 percent of Americans knew about her surgery and the decision.”

This became known as the Angelina Effect, and research on its impact was published in the journal Genetics in Medicine……                                                                                                                https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161028142108.htm

Citation:

Pop-culture news helped destigmatize out-of-wedlock childbirth

Date:           October 28, 2016

Source:       University at Buffalo

Summary:

Celebrity news reports over the past four decades appear to have contributed to the changing makeup of the traditional American family by helping to destigmatize out-of-wedlock childbirths in the United States, according to a study.

Here is the press release from the University of Buffalo:

Study: Pop-culture news helped destigmatize out-of-wedlock childbirth

Celebrity news coverage can serve as an agent for social change, says UB sociologist

By Bert Gambini

Release Date: October 28, 2016

“Academics often scoff at celebrity news, but in fact there’s evidence that celebrity culture is enormously influential in changing norms and has a very wide reach.”

Hanna Grol-Prokopczyk, assistant professor of sociology

University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Celebrity news reports over the past four decades appear to have contributed to the changing makeup of the traditional American family by helping to destigmatize out-of-wedlock childbirths in the United States, according to a study by a University at Buffalo sociologist.

“Celebrities typically did not apologize for getting pregnant outside of marriage,” says Hanna Grol-Prokopczyk, an assistant professor of sociology. “But the family model also changed over time.  The early model dictated that you should marry by the time the baby is born.  By the mid-2000s that had changed, and it became widely acceptable in the celebrity world to have a child without marrying first.”

With People magazine as her proxy for popular culture news coverage, Grol-Prokopczyk analyzed nearly 400 cover stories dating from People’s 1974 premier issue to the present to learn when the interest in celebrity pregnancies started and how the magazine’s presentation of family norms changed over time.

She presented her findings at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.  A more detailed study, including calculations of celebrity non-marital birth rates, is currently under peer-review.

“I used People magazine because it’s reputable in the sense that it doesn’t publish fictional stories; it has been in continuous circulation for over 40 years; and it remains one of the most widely circulating magazines in the country,” says Grol-Prokopczyk.  “It also has a strong online presence, with as many as 72 million unique views in a given month.”

Grol-Prokopczyk’s curiosity about the media’s fascination with celebrity baby news began when she was pregnant with her first child. She signed up for news alerts, expecting to get medical and nutrition stories relevant to expectant mothers, but instead received mostly news reports about celebrity pregnancies.

“Academics often scoff at celebrity news, but in fact there’s evidence that celebrity culture is enormously influential in changing norms and has a very wide reach,” she says. “For example, after Angelina Jolie wrote an op-ed after having her preventative mastectomy, a survey conducted weeks later found that 74 percent of Americans knew about her surgery and the decision.”

This became known as the Angelina Effect, and research on its impact was published in the journal Genetics in Medicine.

“That attests to the fact that decisions celebrities make reach us and affect our thinking,” says Grol-Prokopczyk.

Her research further illustrates that point.

The first People magazine cover that showed a celebrity pregnancy was in May 1976.  Goldie Hawn was pictured and the text makes it clear that she’s pregnant and unmarried, but the caption reads, “She’s laughing with a baby and a new hubby on the way.”

“There aren’t many non-marital fertility stories in the 1970s, but when they do appear there’s almost always a promise that the parent will marry by the time the baby is born,” says Grol-Prokopczyk. “It’s like saying, ‘Don’t worry, readers. They’ll be married by the time the baby arrives.’”

The model was still the same when People magazine announced Melanie Griffith’s pregnancy in 1989, with a caption that said she and Don Johnson were “thinking about an April wedding.”

Beginning in the 1990s, the normative model began to change, and by the mid-2000s, People magazine regularly showed celebrity couples who didn’t marry by the time the baby was born, according to Grol-Prokopczyk. These non-marital births were almost without exception presented as happy, morally unproblematic events.

“This includes women who were partnered but didn’t plan to marry the partner, but it also includes so-called ‘single mothers’ who we now know were in committed same-sex relationships, in particular Jodie Foster and Rosie O’Donnell,” she says.

Seven covers about Foster and O’Donnell appeared between 1996 and 2002. None of them acknowledge that the women were in same-sex relationships, and two of them directly referred to the women as “single mothers.”

“Based on biographies of them now, we know they were in long-term, committed relationships at the time,” says Grol-Prokopczyk. “People magazine was slow to show acceptance of same-sex parents, preferring to present them as single parents.  This example shows that while celebrity media coverage can serve as an agent for social change — by de-stigmatizing non-marital childbearing or transgenderism, for instance — it does not always do so,” she says.

Media Contact Information

Bert Gambini
News Content Manager
Arts and Humanities, Economics, Social Sciences, Social Work
Tel: 716-645-5334
gambini@buffalo.edu

This comment is not politically correct. If you want politically correct, stop reading. Children, especially boys, need positive male role models. They don’t need another “uncle” or “fiancée” who when the chips are down cashes out. By the way, what is the new definition of “fiancée?” Is that someone who is rented for an indefinite term to introduce the kids from your last “fiancée” to? Back in the day, “fiancée” meant one was engaged to be married, got married and then had kids. Nowadays, it means some one who hangs around for an indeterminate period of time and who may or may not formalize a relationship with baby mama. Kids don’t need someone in their lives who has as a relationship strategy only dating women with children because they are available and probably desperate. What children, especially boys, need are men who are consistently there for them, who model good behavior and values, and who consistently care for loved ones. They don’t need men who have checked out of building relationships and those who are nothing more than sperm donors.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences study: Single mothers more likely to live in poverty

1 Sep

The increased rate of poverty has profound implications if this society believes that ALL children have the right to a good basic education. Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Because children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family. There is a lot of economic stress in the country now because of unemployment and underemployment. Children feel the stress of their parents and they worry about how stable their family and living situation is.

Science Daily reported Single mothers much more likely to live in poverty than single fathers, study finds:

Single mothers earn significantly less than single fathers, and they’re penalized for each additional child they have even though the income of single fathers remains the same or increases with each added child in their family. Men also make more for every additional year they invest in education, further widening the gender gap, reports a University of Illinois study.

“Single mothers earn about two-thirds of what single fathers earn. Even when we control for such variables as occupation, numbers of hours worked, education, and social capital, the income gap does not decrease by much. Single mothers are far more likely to live in poverty than single fathers, and they do not catch up over time,” said Karen Kramer, a U of I assistant professor of family studies.

In 2012, 28 percent of all U.S. children lived with one parent. Of that number, 4.24 million single mothers lived below the poverty line compared to 404,000 single fathers, she noted.
The single most important factor that allows single-parent families to get out of poverty is working full-time, she said. “A 2011 study shows that in single-parent families below the poverty line at the end, only 15.1 percent were employed full-time year-round.”

Previous studies show that 39 percent of working single mothers report receiving unearned income, assumed to be child support. That means fathers are contributing only 28 percent of child-rearing costs in single-mother households, she said.

The pathway into single-parent households differs by gender, she said. “Single fathers are more likely to become single parents as the result of a divorce; single mothers are more likely never to have been married,” she explained.

“Divorced single parents tend to be better off financially and are more educated than their never-married counterparts. The most common living arrangement for children after a divorce is for mothers to have custody. Single fathers with custody are more likely to have a cohabiting partner than single mothers, and that partner is probably at least sharing household tasks. Single mothers are more likely to be doing everything on their own,” she said.

Often single mothers have both the stress of raising children alone and crippling financial stress, she added….. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150831163743.htm

Citation:

Single mothers much more likely to live in poverty than single fathers, study finds
Date: August 31, 2015

Source: University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Summary:

Single mothers earn significantly less than single fathers, and they are penalized for each additional child they have even though the income of single fathers remains the same or increases with each added child in their family. Men also make more for every additional year they invest in education, further widening the gender gap, reports a new study.

Journal Reference:

1. Karen Z. Kramer, Laurelle L. Myhra, Virginia S. Zuiker, Jean W. Bauer. Comparison of Poverty and Income Disparity of Single Mothers and Fathers Across Three Decades: 1990–2010. Gender Issues, 2015; DOI: 10.1007/s12147-015-9144-3

Here is the press release:

Single mothers much more likely to live in poverty than single fathers, study finds
Published August 31, 2015

URBANA, Ill. – Single mothers earn significantly less than single fathers, and they’re penalized for each additional child they have even though the income of single fathers remains the same or increases with each added child in their family. Men also make more for every additional year they invest in education, further widening the gender gap, reports a University of Illinois study.

“Single mothers earn about two-thirds of what single fathers earn. Even when we control for such variables as occupation, numbers of hours worked, education, and social capital, the income gap does not decrease by much. Single mothers are far more likely to live in poverty than single fathers, and they do not catch up over time,” said Karen Kramer, a U of I assistant professor of family studies.

In 2012, 28 percent of all U.S. children lived with one parent. Of that number, 4.24 million single mothers lived below the poverty line compared to 404,000 single fathers, she noted.
The single most important factor that allows single-parent families to get out of poverty is working full-time, she said. “A 2011 study shows that in single-parent families below the poverty line at the end, only 15.1 percent were employed full-time year-round.”

Previous studies show that 39 percent of working single mothers report receiving unearned income, assumed to be child support. That means fathers are contributing only 28 percent of child-rearing costs in single-mother households, she said.

The pathway into single-parent households differs by gender, she said. “Single fathers are more likely to become single parents as the result of a divorce; single mothers are more likely never to have been married,” she explained.

“Divorced single parents tend to be better off financially and are more educated than their never-married counterparts. The most common living arrangement for children after a divorce is for mothers to have custody. Single fathers with custody are more likely to have a cohabiting partner than single mothers, and that partner is probably at least sharing household tasks. Single mothers are more likely to be doing everything on their own,” she said.

Often single mothers have both the stress of raising children alone and crippling financial stress, she added.
Society still stigmatizes single mothers, she noted. “People think: How did you get in this position? It’s irresponsible to be a single mother with so many kids. Now you don’t have time to work.”
She pointed out that the role of women as caretakers saturates every aspect of our culture. “Women perform most caregiving work for children, elders, and dependent persons, both within their own families and as paid employees,” she said.

“We need to encourage women to invest in education. And, as policymakers, we need to make sure that women and men get the same return on that investment,” she said.

Kramer recommended that more emphasis and pressure should be placed on fathers and their ability to pay child support and spousal maintenance; raising the minimum wage to a living wage; and providing similar benefits and rewards for part-time work as the ones full-time workers get.

Affordable housing in a safe neighborhood, access to public transportation, food support, child care and health care for single mothers should also be supported, she added.

Kramer noted that single mothers who don’t participate in Social Security because they are not working are setting themselves up for lifelong poverty.

“Social Security is designed to protect those who have lengthy work histories or women who get married. Single motherhood presents a continuing crisis that requires efforts to end women’s poverty by enforcing anti-discrimination laws and offering opportunities and training for better-paying positions,” Kramer said.
“Comparison of Poverty and Income Disparity of Single Mothers and Fathers Across Three Decades, 1990-2010” appears in a recent issue of Gender Issues. Co-authors are Karen Z. Kramer of the University of Illinois, Laurelle L. Myhra of the Native American Community Clinic in Minneapolis, and Virginia S. Zuiker and Jean W. Bauer of the University of Minnesota. Funding was supplied by USDA.

News Source:
Karen Z. Kramer, 217-244-3974

News Writer:
Phyllis Picklesimer, 217-244-2827
http://news.aces.illinois.edu/news/single-mothers-much-more-likely-live-poverty-single-fathers-study-finds

This comment is not politically correct. If you want politically correct, stop reading. Children, especially boys, need positive male role models. They don’t need another “uncle” or “fiancée” who when the chips are down cashes out. By the way, what is the new definition of “fiancée?” Is that someone who is rented for an indefinite term to introduce the kids from your last “fiancée” to? Back in the day, “fiancée” meant one was engaged to be married, got married and then had kids. Nowadays, it means some one who hangs around for an indeterminate period of time and who may or may not formalize a relationship with baby mama. Kids don’t need someone in their lives who has as a relationship strategy only dating women with children because they are available and probably desperate. What children, especially boys, need are men who are consistently there for them, who model good behavior and values, and who consistently care for loved ones. They don’t need men who have checked out of building relationships and those who are nothing more than sperm donors.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

A baby changes everything: Helping parents finish school

26 Dec

The structure of the American family is changing. Jennifer Ludden reports in the NPR article, When It Comes To Marriage, Many More Say ‘I Don’t’

The share of all U.S. adults who are married has dropped to a record low 51 percent, according to a new report. If the trend continues, the institution will soon lose its majority status in American life.

The report being released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center finds new marriages dropped a sharp 5 percent last year, which is very likely related to the bad economy. Pew senior writer D’Vera Cohn says it fits with a larger trend….

Half a century ago, nearly 60 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds were married. Today, it’s just 20 percent. But the Pew report finds fewer married people across all age groups.

In their place: more singles, single parents, couples living together — many having children without marrying. In fact, some 40 percent of all U.S. births are now to unmarried mothers. But the driving force in the dropping marriage rate? People who do tie the knot are waiting longer than ever.

The Pew report finds the median age when people finally walk down the aisle is at an all-time high — 26 for women and nearly 29 for men. And it’s higher still for the college educated.

Marriage On The Decline (1960-2010)

Marriage On The Decline (1960-2010)

Notes

Based on adults 18 and older. Percents may not total 100 percent due to rounding.

Source: Pew Research Center analysis of Decennial Census and American Community Survey Data

Credit: Nelson Hsu/NPR

“Well, it does not mean that marriage is dead,” says Stephanie Coontz, a historian on family life at Evergreen State College in Washington state. She says many of those 20-somethings will eventually tie the knot. The Pew report finds a robust 72 percent of Americans have been married at some point…

Cohn says you already see this — school forms with separate address blocks for “Parent 1” and “Parent 2,” or employers asked about benefits for unmarried partners. Yet even as marriage declines, Cohn says, Americans still revere it….

“On the one hand, we had nearly 40 percent of Americans tell us they think marriage is becoming obsolete. On the other hand, when you ask people who aren’t married, ‘Would you like to get married?’ they say yes,” Cohn says.

Cohn says Wednesday’s report also points to a troubling marriage gap — the rich get hitched; the working class, not as much. Historian Coontz says it’s yet another consequence of the nation’s widening economic inequality. Wages for those without a college degree have stagnated, weakening their power in the marriage market.

“The sort of incentive to get married — because you could rely on a man whose real wages would continue to rise, who would get a pension at the end of it — that incentive has been undermined as well,” Coontz says.

http://www.npr.org/2011/12/14/143660764/when-it-comes-to-marriage-many-more-say-i-dont

This trend is troubling because it disrupts the stability of many children not only emotionally, but financially as well. Single parents often have difficulty earning a sufficient income to support a family. It becomes more important for single parents to complete education and/or training programs. In order to increase the well-being of children, parents must be helped to complete their education.

Sara Goldrick-Rab and Kia Sorensen have written The Future of Children journal article, Unmarried Parents in College:

Among all undergraduates, the share of unmarried parents nearly doubled over the past twenty years (from 7 percent to just over 13 percent).7 Unmarried parents make up an especially substantial segment of undergraduates from racial and ethnic minority backgrounds. For example, more than one-third (36 percent) of African American female undergraduates nationwide are unmarried mothers, and 15 percent of African American male undergraduates are unmarried fathers. Unmarried parents make up more than one in five Native American undergraduates (21 percent) and 16 percent of all Latino undergraduates (compared with 10 percent of white and 9 percent of Asian undergraduates).8

More than two-thirds of the increase in college attendance among unmarried parents since 1990 is attributable to attendance among unmarried mothers. Although the representation of unmarried fathers has been growing, a greater proportion of the increase in unmarried parents is driven by the attendance of women. Overall, 8 percent of male undergraduates and 17 percent of female undergraduates are unmarried parents.9 Of course, the appearance of these trends may be affected by the way parenting students are counted in federal data.

One reason for the apparent gender disparity among unmarried parents in attending college is that women are more likely than men to choose to begin or reenter college after having children.10 School reentry is common among mothers (even among high school dropouts), and mothers’ rates of college-going tick upward as children get older.11 Data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study indicate that many unmarried mothers wait until they are in their late twenties and their children enter school before entering or re-entering college.12 In fact, 25 percent of women entering college after the age of thirty are not married at the time of entry.13 In addition, parents who are not currently married appear more likely than currently married or cohabiting parents to enter college.14

Despite the fact that more unmarried parenting students are attending college, their attendance patterns, completion rates, and financial circumstances are quite different from those of nonparenting students and, in some cases, from married parenting students and other low-income students.

Rates of College Success
Parenting students who are not married while they are enrolled tend to complete four-year degrees at rates far lower than other college students, on average.15 Among all students who started college in 1995–96, 29 percent attained a bachelor’s degree by 2001, compared with just under 5 percent of unmarried parents. Among unmarried parents, 11.8 percent earned an associate’s degree (roughly the same share as the rest of that cohort), and 30 percent completed a postsecondary certificate (compared with 12 percent of the cohort as a whole). Unmarried parents were much more likely to depart college early, without a timely return to school (46 percent compared with 35 percent).16

One reason for these lower rates of completion is that it can take longer for parenting students to finish degrees.17 In fact, by neglecting these longer time periods to degree attainment, analysts sometimes tend to make ultimate rates of degree completion appear lower than they are. Although delays in completion (and the older age at which the degree is earned) affect labor market returns and employment opportunities, many unmarried mothers nevertheless acquire their postsecondary degrees—but, as Nan Astone and her colleagues put it, they do so “in a discontinuous fashion.”18 According to one study, “one-third (33.7 percent) of low-income single women with children and slightly more than one quarter (28.8 percent) of low-income married women with children take more than 10 years to complete a bachelor’s degree, compared to 15.6 percent of all women, 16.5 percent of all low-income women, and 12.7 percent of all men.”19 Other researchers, examining educational attainment according to early life course patterns, find clear differences in college-going and attainment based on the speed and trajectory of family formation. As table 1 illustrates, 57 percent of individuals who move rapidly into adult roles such as marriage and childbearing attend some college but only 6 percent complete bachelor’s degrees—and they are unlikely to continue pursuing their education at age twenty-four.20 Individuals who do not become parents by age twenty-four and remain unmarried are far more likely to attend and complete college, and many are still continuing their education at age twenty-four….

Contents

Figures & Tables

Download

http://futureofchildren.org/publications/journals/article/index.xml?journalid=73&articleid=536&sectionid=3692

Jenna Johnson has a excellent Washington Post article, How can colleges help teen moms (and teen dads)?

So what can colleges do to help these students? Here are seven ideas from local schools and teen moms:

1) Recruit these young parents: Quite often when a woman becomes pregnant, people stop talking to her about attending college — that is, if they were even pushing the idea in the first place. But a college degree is what could help her get a better-paying job and support her child….

2) Provide as much financial aid as possible: Tuition isn’t the only cost of going to college — there are also books to buy, fees to pay and transportation costs, just to name a few. Plus, every hour that a parent spends studying is one hour he or she is not working. It takes a lot of motivation to keep going to class when you have a family to feed.

The first step is easy: Make sure that teen parents have filled out the FAFSA (likely, as independent of their parents) and are receiving federal financial aid. Several of the Generation Hope scholars have not yet done this and are missing out on thousands in grants….

Beyond that, some schools have set up scholarships that will cover things like transportation or childcare. The College of Southern Maryland provides a number of scholarships for young parents, including the Bradley M. Gottfried “Against All Odds “Scholarship.

And the help can be less formal than a scholarship with an application process. At Trinity Washington University, the Dean of Student Services often gives young mothers Metro fare cards or meal passes for the dining hall. Earlier this semester, Generation Hope leaders heard that one of their students was on the verge of dropping a math class at Montgomery College — because she couldn’t afford a textbook that cost more than $100. Lewis rushed to campus to buy the book for her.

3) Assist with childcare: When I started reporting this story, I figured that the most daunting challenge facing most teen moms in college would be financial or academic. Nope, it’s childcare.

If your campus does not have a childcare center, then help your students apply for local programs or childcare vouchers for low-income parents. But many community colleges and four-year universities have begun to build childcare centers on campus to accommodate the children of faculty and students….

Students at Howard Community College can enroll their children in an on-campus lab school called the Children’s Learning Center. The cost is set on a sliding scale, and many women likely wouldn’t be able to attend class without the service. The program has helped the school increase its retention rate for single mothers in their early 20s, said school spokeswoman Nancy Santos Gainer. More than half of the students who use the center for childcare have a GPA of over 3.0, she said, and 13 percent have a GPA of over 3.5.

4) Support your teen parents: Sometimes that just means smiling and asking how their day is going. Being a teen mother can be lonely, as it’s difficult to make new friends when you have a baby to care for. And some teen moms have been so beaten down by the system as they applied for free prenatal care and WIC or tried to get child support through the court system, that they are afraid to seek out help.

Some ideas for doing this institutionally: Create a student-led support group, match young parents with volunteer mentors, offer a parenting session at freshman orientation, officially add “help teen parents” to the title of someone in the student affairs office, or build a single Web page for teen parents that includes links to all the resources they might need….

5) Help with housing: Along with childcare, housing can also be a challenge for students who are no longer living with their parents. In addition to helping teen parents find subsidized housing in the community, some residential schools also offer affordable “family housing” on campus. This sort of service can not only help undergraduates who are parents, but also older graduate students and young faculty members.

6) Offer a variety of class options: Many young parents have found that online classes work better into their schedules than showing up to campus a few times a week — but that can mean missing out on the traditional college experience. Colleges of all sorts have started to offer a wider range of classes, including hybrid classes (a mix of online and in-the-classroom) and more late-night, weekend and summer courses. They are also setting up satellite campuses that might be closer to where students live or work.

7) Don’t underestimate or pity teen parents: When I sat down to interview one of the Generation Hope mentors, who years ago put herself through Trinity while parenting, one of my first questions was something along the lines of: Wow, how did you do it? She explained that compared to all of the other challenges she had faced in her life, going to college was one of the easiest. She was focused and determined to get an education. She just needed the opportunity and resources.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/campus-overload/post/how-can-colleges-help-teen-moms-and-teen-dads/2011/12/22/gIQAcp7aBP_blog.html?tid=sm_btn_tw

For a good discussion of why child care is important to students, see the journal article, Contemporary Childcare Issues Facing Colleges and Universities by Marybeth Kyle, William J. Campion, William R. Ogden; College Student Journal, Vol. 33, 1999.

In order for low-income people, particularly single mothers to have a shot at escaping poverty, they must get an education, trade, or vocation. For many, affordable child care is the key determinant of whether they can advance. Alexandra Cawthorne in the 2008 report for the Center for American Progress, The Straight Facts on Women in Poverty describes the issues facing women in poverty. The National Coalition for Campus Children’s Centers has statistics about Children on Campus

College must not only be affordable for many student populations, it must be accessible as well.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©