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Healthy Montana Teen Parent Program

Healthy Montana Teen Parent Program

Facilitating self-sufficiency, building parenting capacity, encouraging postsecondary education and workforce preparedness, and improving the healthy growth and development of children.

About the Program

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:

  1. Case management and family support services
  2. Prenatal and reproductive health services
  3. Quality child care
  4. Nurturing, parenting, and life skills education
  5. 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

Prenatal Care

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


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Teen Pregnancy in the United States. (2015).
  2. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Montana Data. (2015).
  3. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Why It Matters: Teen Childrearing and Infant Health. (October 2012).
  4. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Why It Matters: Teen Childbearing, Education, and Economic Wellbeing. (July 2012).

Grant Recipients

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.


Breastfeeding Support

Child Care


Flexible, quality schooling is important to help young parents complete high school or obtain their HiSet (GED in Montana). This includes flexible schedules and classes, mentoring, and educational advocacy/mentoring.

Family Support Services

  • Apply for Benefits and find out if you are eligible to receive food, medical, or cash assistance.
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides cash reimbursement for serving meals to enrolled participants that meet Federal nutritional guidelines, outlined in the CACFP meal pattern.
  • The Child and Family Services Division (CFSD) provides state and federally mandated protective services to children who are abused, neglected, or abandoned.
    • In-Home Services such as home management skill training, parenting education classes, modeling skills for parents, and supervised visitations.
    • Family Group Decision-Making Meetings bring together family, friends, social workers, and service provides to share concerns, knowledge and skills.
    • Kinship Care involves placing a child, whenever possible, with an extended family, clan, or tribal member.
    • Indian Child Welfare Act encourages American Indian children to be placed in settings that encourage connections with their tribal heritage.
    • Foster Care such as family foster care, group homes, shelter care, and residential facilities.
    • Reunification Services help improve parents' abilities to care for their children so that children who have been removed from the home can return as soon as possible.
    • Adoption offers a child a lifetime link to a family and is generally the permanency plan of choice when a court terminates parental rights.
    • Guardianship is an alternative to adoption. Guardianship is a legal relationship that can only be established or dissolved by a court and is available for children ages 16 - 21 who are making the transition from foster care to independent living.
  • Children's Autism Waiver Services provides support and services to children diagnosed with autism who are at least 15 months through age four when enrolled.
  • Children's Mental Health Service Plan provides medically necessary mental health services for youth with Serious Emotional Disturbances who meet financial criteria.
  • Children's Special Health Services is a program that may be able to help children who have or are at risk for chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional conditions. Program offerings include:
    • Newborn Hearing Screening provides referrals to families seeking additional information about their newborn's hearing screening test results. In Montana, all newborns are screened for hearing loss.
    • Pediatric Specialty Clinics provide clinics where a team of health care providers led by a pediatric specialist come together to evaluate and develop a comprehensive plan of care for children with a specific condition such as arthritis, cleft lip/palate, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, and a variety of other topics.
  • Head Start and Early Head Start provide services to low-income families around early child development and school readiness.
  • Imagination Library is a non-profit organization providing a free book once a month for children aged 0-5.  Available in some MT communities.
  • Low-Income Energy Assistance is a program which provides assistance with winter heating needs.
  • Maternal and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MT MECHV) Program is a network of programs around the state that provide voluntary, family-centered services in the home to expectant families and families with new infants and young children.
  • Montana Children's Trust Fund provides funding to effective, primary prevention programs in local communities throughout Montana. Also enhances communities' capacity to prevent child abuse and neglect by allocating funds annually for prevention programs to community-based organizations. Provides public education such as conferences, workshops, and seminars.
  • Montana Free File can help people find free or low-cost options to file their taxes, along with information about refundable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Parents Let's Unite for Kids (PLUK) is a non-profit organization providing information, support, training, and assistance to parents of children with special needs in the state of Montana.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, provides food and nutrition assistance.
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) provides cash assistance to low-income families.
  • WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) provides food and nutrition assistance to low income, pregnant, lactating and postpartum women, infants and children up to age five, who are at nutrition risk.

Fatherhood Engagement

  • Fatherhood is Sacred curriculum focuses on the importance of responsible fatherhood as reflected in Native American values and beliefs.
  • The Fatherhood Project is a non-profit fatherhood program in the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston, MA. Their mission is to improve the health and well-being of children by empowering fathers to be active, informed and emotionally engaged with their children and families.


  • Health Insurance is available through the federally facilitate marketplace in Montana. Financial assistance may be available. Individuals can apply online or meet with a local in-person assister in their city.
  • Healthy Montana Kids provides free or low-cost health coverage for children and teenagers up to age 19.
  • Montana HELP Plan: Under Medicaid Expansion, individuals under 138% of the federal poverty level (approximately $16,000/year for one person, $33,000 for a family of four), are now eligible for Medicaid.

Legal Support

Parenting, Nurturing, and Life Skills

  • The Circle of Security is a relationship based early intervention program designed to enhance attachment security between parents and children. Decades of university-based research have confirmed that secure children exhibit increased empathy, greater self-esteem, better relationships with parents and peers, enhanced school readiness, and an increased capacity to handle emotions more effectively when compared with children who are not secure.
  • Family Spirit is an evidence-based, culturally tailored home-visiting program of the of Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health to promote optimal health and wellbeing for parents and their children.
  • Parents as Teachers is the trusted resource providing a proven home visiting model for the most respected organizations and professionals who meet the evolving needs of families. Their work with the professional community helps young children grow up healthy, safe and ready to learn.

Prenatal Care

  • The Coming of the Blessing is a March of Dimes initiative for American Indian and Alaska Native families. It provides education, training, and resources on prenatal care, using traditional beliefs.
  • Quit Now Montana Pregnancy Program  - Offers pregnant and postpartum callers a personal quit coach, extended coaching calls with cash incentives, 6 weeks NRTs during pregnancy and 6 additional weeks of NRTs postpartum. Call 1-800-784-8669 to enroll today.
  • text4baby is a national initiative from the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition for moms and soon-to-be moms. You can sign up for free text messages with timely information on prenatal care, health, parenting, and more.

Reproductive Health Services

  • Plan First is a Montana Medicaid Waiver that covers family planning services for eligible women. Some of the services covered include office visits, contraceptive supplies, laboratory services, and testing and treatment of STDs. Women can also get in-person assistance applying at a local family planning clinic.  
  • The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy’s mission is to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families and, in particular, to help ensure that children are born into stable, two-parent families who are committed to and ready for the demanding task of raising the next generation.
  • The Women's and Men's Health Section of DPHHS provides information about local family planning clinics.

Looking for information about your reproductive health? Visit one of the sites below:

  • is an online birth control support network for women 18-29 operated by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a private non-profit organization. Bedsider is totally independent and the info on it is honest and unbiased. Their goal is to help women find the method of birth control that’s right for them and learn how to use it consistently and effectively, and that's it.
  • Center for Young Women's Health is an award-winning health website for young women. You can find answers to your questions, health guides, chats, and more.
  • I Wanna Know! is a website by the American Social Health Association providing information to teens and young adults.
  • It's Your (Sex) Life is a website developed by the Kaiser Family Foundation in partnership with MTV with information about sexually transmitted infections, contraceptive options, and other sexual health information.
  • Planned Parenthood- Teen Talk provides health information for teens.
  • Sex, Etc. provides teens with information about sex, relationships, pregnancy, and other topics.
  • Stay Teen is a website by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy which provides information about sex, relationships, waiting, and contraception.
  • Teen's Health, from the Nemours Foundation, provides accurate, up-to-date health information reviewed by medical experts.
  • Young Men's Health is a website which provides carefully researched health information to teenage boys and young men.

Program Newsletter

The project described was supported by Grant Number 6 SP1AH000023-02 from the HHS Office of Adolescent Health. Contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Department of Health and Human Services or the Office of Adolescent Health.

*No endorsement is intended or made of any hypertext link, product, service, or information either by its inclusion or exclusion from this page or site. While all attempts are made to ensure the correctness and suitability of information under our control and to correct any errors brought to our attention, no representation or guarantee can be made as to the correctness or suitability of that information or any other linked information presented, referenced, or implied. All critical information should be independently verified. Any questions should be directed to the administrators of this or any other specific sites.*

Contact Us

For more information, contact:
Kathy Rich, Head Start Collaboration Director
Early Childhood Services Bureau