Connecticut State Department of Education
Offering Comprehensive Services to Support Expectant and Parenting Teens and Their Children in Connecticut
Supports for Pregnant and Parenting Teens (SPPT) is a school-based program that serves expectant and parenting teens and their children in six cities in Connecticut. Not only is poverty in these communities twice as high as in the rest of the state, but 52% of all teen births in Connecticut occurs in the cities served by the SPPT program. 1,2 Consequently, teens in these communities face a myriad of hardships including poverty, exposure to trauma, homelessness, repeat pregnancy, and truancy.
In an effort to address these challenges, SPPT was designed to improve the education, health, and social outcomes for these teen parents, as well as to promote the healthy development of their children. Investing in the long-term well-being of this population, SPPT strives to build the capacity of these communities to provide and sustain supports for families beyond federal funding.
Staffed with a social worker and nurse, the program comprised of a host of services including academic support, prenatal care, child care, parenting and life skills education, individual and group counseling, case management, service referral, and home visits. Participants have access to the program five days a week when school is in session, and the social worker is on call 24 hours a day for emergencies.
SPPT has employed a wide array of strategies to engage and retain their participants. Strategies for reaching attendance goals range from daily contact with participants through texting, phone calls, and home visits to providing incentives, such as car seats and high chairs. They have also offered unique opportunities such as a summer workforce development program with paid employment.
SPPT’s hard work has paid off and they have already begun seeing positive changes. In year two of program implementation, of the 263 particpants and their children, 99% of children in the program were up-to-date on their well-child visits, 77% of participants graduated or remained in school, and the prevalence of repeat pregnancy rate was down to less than 2%. But the impact of the program extends beyond just the statistics; participants report the significance of the program in their lives. One participant notes, “The program is very helpful for me and my young family. I feel like this is my family apart from relatives at home. There was so much help during my pregnancy and after that I can honestly say that with the support, I have so much motivation towards finishing school and making a great life for my daughter."
Pregnant and Parenting Teens on Track for Graduation with the Help of Critical Supportive Services (2013)
Pregnant and parenting teens are now on track for graduation from high school in some Connecticut schools because of the critical supportive services from the Support for Pregnant and Parenting Teens (SPPT) Initiative. This initiative is funded through a grant from the Office of Adolescent Health. Analyses of Connecticut data show high correlation between teen births and school dropout rates. In five Connecticut cities, the teen birth rate was at least two times greater than the overall state rate.
The SPPT Initiative helps school districts in those five cities, Bridgeport, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven and Waterbury, develop comprehensive programs that improve the health, education, and social outcomes for pregnant and parenting teens and their children. This model offers:
- Flexible, quality schooling to help young parents complete high school
- Case management and family support
- Linkages and referrals to prenatal, reproductive, and pediatric health services
- Quality child care and transportation services
- Parenting and life skills education and support services, including home visiting through a partnership with Nurturing Family Network programs
- Fatherhood involvement services and supports
All services take place on a scheduled basis during lunch, study halls, and before/after school. Dedicated space has been identified in a comprehensive high school in each city where teens can drop in during lunch, study hall or between classes for healthy snacks, to rest, or see the nurse or social worker with quick questions.
Monthly data reports track school and daycare attendance and participation. Year Two outcomes point to strengths of the program. These strengths include:
- Eighty percent of seniors enrolled in the program are graduating or remaining in school
- Ninety-eight percent of the students are receiving three or more of the comprehensive service components
- Ninety-eight percent of the children are up-to-date on their immunizations and well-child visits
- Ninety-nine percent of the children are meeting developmental milestones or receiving appropriate services to address developmental delays
In Year Two of the Initiative, 273 students were served (92 teen mothers, 142 pregnant teens, and 39 teen dads). The SPPT Initiative continues through August 2013. The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) is working with sites to conduct sustainability assessments and develop sustainability plans.
Additionally, the Hispanic Health Council (HHC) has used the inventory of existing resources to expand their website to include a page specifically for pregnant and parenting teens: http://www.hispanichealthcouncil.org
Title: Project Director
Organization: Connecticut State Department of Education
Phone: (860) 807-2103
Title: Project Manager
Organization: Connecticut State Department of Education
Phone: (860) 807-2070
Content last reviewed on January 26, 2016