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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: Juggling Jobs, Children Tougher for MN’s Young Parents

Minnesota has fewer young parents compared with the national average, but they still struggle to find family-sustaining jobs, quality child care, stable housing and opportunities to advance their education. (880cities.org)
Minnesota has fewer young parents compared with the national average, but they still struggle to find family-sustaining jobs, quality child care, stable housing and opportunities to advance their education. (880cities.org)
September 27, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Young adult or teenage parents face many of the same challenges as older parents, but significant hurdles stand in their way without adequate support.

A new policy report from The Annie E. Casey Foundation says Minnesota's 35,000 young adult parents often find it difficult to support their children and fulfill their own potential.

The study found that many families headed by young adults ages 18 to 24 live at poverty level.

Bharti Wahi, executive director of Children's Defense Fund of Minnesota, says the 50-state report shows that 8 percent of Minnesota's youths are also parents, just under the national average of 10 percent.

"I don't care what age you are when you're having your children, those babies don't come with a manual,” she points out. “I mean it is a huge transition and a huge learning curve.

“All of us need those kinds of supports to help us understand child development better in ways that we can support our kids."

Wahi notes that the Children's Defense Fund has advocated for statewide, paid family leave that would help all families and especially young parents.

She says expanded home visiting programs and support for early Head Start would also help create opportunities for young parents and even encourage many to pursue additional education.

In Minnesota, only 13 percent of young parents, ages 18 to 24 have completed an associate's degree or higher level.

Rosa Maria Castaneda, a senior associate with the Casey Foundation, notes young parents often have limited financial resources and education.

She says in a society that increasingly requires post-secondary education and specialized skills to land a good-paying job, many young parents get left out.

"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," she stresses.

The report says young parents need increased access to child care, housing and employment opportunities.

In Minnesota, 45 percent of young parents are people of color, which means challenges can be exacerbated by discrimination and systemic inequities and their children often stand to suffer the most.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - MN