Strategic partners: Enhancing the ability of foster care agencies to serve the special needs of young mothers

Lisa D. Lieberman, Alejandra Kaplan, Laura Scholey, Jeremy Kohomban, Linda Lausell-Bryant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parenting teens and young women who are in or transitioning out of foster care face unique challenges. Three NYC child welfare agencies created the Passport to Parenting (P2P) initiative in 2011 in a strategic partnership designed to build capacity to serve the special needs of pregnant and parenting teens. The program included direct services to young mothers, staff development and technical support by one agency that had historically served this unique population. A qualitative program evaluation was conducted, including focus groups with 36 parenting young women who had participated in P2P services and interviews with 11 key staff of the three partnering agencies. Qualitative data were coded through thematic analysis. Despite significant changes in leadership, structure, and staffing across the partner agencies over the project period, a strong collaboration and partnership persisted, serving the myriad needs of this unique population. From the young women's perspective, the provider agencies’ programming had enhanced their parenting skills, confidence, and resources. At the same time, they reflected on a child welfare system that sometimes supported their dependency and, to protect their babies, often saw them with suspicion. With a commitment to services ranging from pregnancy prevention to parenting, mental health, mentoring, and educational, financial, and other instrumental programming, the Passport to Parenting (P2P) initiative provided opportunities for growth and support for young mothers, within a child welfare system that faces many challenges to meeting its own standards of care for pregnant and parenting teens in the system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104808
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Mar 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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