The Healthy Montana Teen Parent Program utilizes a community based approach to provide services to expectant and parenting teens (ages 14 – 24) and their children through contracts with school and community-based providers.
The program seeks to:
- Facilitate participants’ self-sufficiency (life skills classes such as nutrition and money management, job skills training, resume building, transportation assistance to prenatal and child-wellness appointments, housing advocacy, and tutoring);
- Build parenting capacity;
- Encourage post-secondary education and workforce preparedness; and,
- Improve the healthy growth and development of their children.
Community providers are required to address participants’ needs for flexible education in order to complete a high school diploma or equivalent.
They must also address at least two of the following core services:
- Case management and family support services
- Prenatal and reproductive health services
- Quality child care
- Nurturing, parenting, and life skills education
- Father involvement
HMTPP is supported through the Pregnancy Assistance Fund from the Office of Adolescent Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Pregnancy Assistance Fund is a federal grant of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Sections 10211-10214; Public Law 111-148).
Need for the Healthy Montana Teen Parent Program
There continues to be a high need for supporting teen parents in Montana. Although the teen pregnancy and birth rates are at historic lows nationwide and in Montana, disparities persist. Further, there remain significant challenges and barriers for both teens and their children.
Teen pregnancy and birth rates are at historic lows and there has been impressive progress on both fronts in all 50 states. In 2013, a total of 273,105 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years, for a live birth rate of 26.5 per 1,000 women in this age group.1 This is a record low for U.S. teens in this age group, and a drop of 10% from 2012.1 Still, the U.S. teen pregnancy rate is substantially higher than in other western industrialized nations.1
As of 2013, the Montana teen birth rate was 27.9 births per 1,000 teen girls (age 15-19).2 Since 1991, the teen birth rate has declined by 40%.2
Significant disparities persist in teen birth rates, and teen pregnancy. In 2013, non-Hispanic black and Hispanic teen birth rates were still more than two times higher than the rate for non-Hispanic white teens, and American Indian/Alaska Native teen birth rates remained more than one and a half times higher than the white teen birth rate. 1
Immediate and Long-Term Impacts on Teen Parents and Children
Children born to adolescents are more likely to have poorer educational, behavioral, and health outcomes throughout their lives, compared with children born to older parents. 4
Pregnancy and birth are significant contributors to high school dropout rates among girls. Thirty-eight percent (38%) of teen girls who have a child before age 18 get a high school diploma by age 22.5 Further, 30% of teen girls who have dropped out of high school cite pregnancy or parenthood as a reason.5
Teen mothers are nearly twice as likely to forgo prenatal care in the first trimester compared to older mothers (43% compared to 25% respectively).3
Teen mothers are 33% more likely to smoke during pregnancy compared to older mothers (12% compared to 9% respectively).3 Furthermore, the majority of teen mothers who smoked during their pregnancy did not quit smoking before their child was born.3
Infants and Children
Infants born to teen mothers are 17% more likely to be preterm and 25% more likely to be born low birth weight compared to infants born to older mothers.3
The children of teenage mothers are more likely to have lower school achievement and drop out of high school, have more health problems, be incarcerated at some time during adolescence, give birth as a teenager, and face unemployment as a young adult.1
Cost of Teen Parenting
Teen childbearing costs U.S. taxpayers between $9.4 and $28 billion a year through public assistance payments, lost tax revenue, and greater expenditures for public health care, foster care, and criminal justice services.4 In 2010, public spending on teen childbearing in Montana totaled $26 million.1
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Teen Pregnancy in the United States. (2015). http://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/about/index.htm
- The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Montana Data. (2015). https://thenationalcampaign.org/data/state/montana
- The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Why It Matters: Teen Childrearing and Infant Health. (October 2012). http://thenationalcampaign.org/sites/default/files/resource-primary-download/childbearing-infant-health.pdf
- The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Why It Matters: Teen Childbearing, Education, and Economic Wellbeing. (July 2012). https://thenationalcampaign.org/sites/default/files/resource-primary-download/childbearing-education-economicwellbeing.pdf
Currently, the HMTPP has nine contracts around the state serving five urban population centers and three American Indian reservations. Funded programs include a city-county health department, a high school, residential-based service providers, non-profits, and a tribal program. Counties with contracted services include Big Horn, Gallatin, Glacier, Flathead, Lewis and Clark, Missoula, Rosebud and Yellowstone.
American Indian teens and older teens in Montana have higher birth rates than the general teen population. Supporting these populations is a priority of the Healthy Montana Teen Parent Program. Additionally, the Program is committed to providing at least 50% of its funding to programs serving American Indian pregnant and parenting teens.
Current Healthy Montana Teen Parent Program grant recipients are:
Additional partners include Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies and Montana KIDSCOUNT.