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The Senate votes to withdraw funding for the Saudi war in Yemen. Also on the Friday rundown: the Global Climate Conference reinforces the need for grassroots movements; and could this be the most wasteful time of year?

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Report: Challenges Persist for Maryland's Young-Adult Parents

In Maryland, 59 percent of children of young parents live in low-income families, according to the latest KIDS COUNT policy report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. (Pixabay)
In Maryland, 59 percent of children of young parents live in low-income families, according to the latest KIDS COUNT policy report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. (Pixabay)
September 25, 2018

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The sleepless nights and increased costs that come with parenthood can be a rude awakening for anyone, but the challenge is often greater for young parents.

A new report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, called "Opening Doors for Young Parents,” underscores the need for increased programs to support people between ages 18 and 24 who have children. Rachel White, child welfare policy director with Advocates for Children and Youth, said if they're not supported, the odds are stacked against them - especially for people of color.

"So they face challenges exacerbated by discrimination and systemic inequities,” White said. “And their children suffer the most, on top of the barriers they face as being young parents as well."

In Maryland, 6 percent of people age 18-24 are parents - lower than the national average of 10 percent. The report said 37,000 children live in young-parent households in the state, although White said she believes the number is higher because the report only looks at Census data. It doesn't account for parents who live outside the household - primarily fathers.

The report recommended states provide increased access to education and employment opportunities. It also emphasized the importance of a father's involvement in a child's life and development. But the Casey Foundation's Rosa Maria Castaneda said men are often left out of programs that support young families.

"They want to be involved in their children's lives; however, they're less likely to be supported through many of our programs and policies to be able to be involved, and to be able to provide for their children,” Castaneda said. “They are really neglected. We should support their involvement."

White said by helping young adult parents navigate the difficult transitions to work and higher education alongside parenthood, the odds can change for them and their children.

"Invest in programs that are targeted specifically at young parents to achieve financial stability,” White said.

She added extensive research shows that better economic situations for families improve children's healthy development and ability to succeed.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - MD