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Report: Investing in Oregon's Young Parents Yields "Two-Generation Benefit"

A new report touts the benefits for young parents of child care and home visiting programs. (SupportPDX/Flickr)
A new report touts the benefits for young parents of child care and home visiting programs. (SupportPDX/Flickr)
September 25, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. — Parenting can be a challenge for the most financially secure Oregonians, but the hardships can be even greater for young parents.

A report out Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, called "Opening Doors for Young Parents," stressed the need for increased programs to support people between the ages of 18 and 24 who have children. Tonia Hunt, executive director of Children First for Oregon, said making sure young parents stay in school or successfully enter the workforce helps their children too.

"You get this two-generation benefit,” Hunt said. “We're not only helping those young parents be successful in their start to adulthood, but we're also really stabilizing and helping those young children that they're parenting and getting them off on the right foot."

The report found about 33,000 Oregon children have young parents and 72 percent of those children live in low-income families - above the national average of 69 percent. Additionally, only 10 percent of these parents have an associate degree or higher and 40 percent are people of color.

The report recommended states provide increased access to child care, housing and employment opportunities.

Rosa Maria Castaneda, senior associate with the Casey Foundation, said family-sustaining jobs increasingly require post-secondary education and specialized skills. But young parents who have limited resources are unable to stay competitive in this workforce landscape. She said apprenticeship programs, career programs, and post-secondary education are a boost to earning power and getting high-quality jobs.

"Young parents have less access to these and they're less able to participate in these programs and not have their education disrupted because they're having some challenges just meeting some basic needs,” Castaneda said.

The report also highlighted the importance of home-visiting programs and access to health care. Children are more likely to have coverage if their parents are insured.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR