DHS Contract Mgr Denise Simon
Annual Grant $ $350,000
Evaluator Name & Contact Info

Peter Mulhall, Ph.D.

Erin Ficker, M.P.A.
Center for Prevention Research and Development
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Annual Eval $ $70,000
Funding Source DHHS/Office of Adolescent Pregnancy Programs
Eval Period 10/01/05 - 9/30/10

Program Summary

The Teen Parent Family Services (TPFS) Project is a five-year federally-funded demonstration project, the Adolescent Family Life Care Demonstration. It is designed to serve the families of TANF teen mothers who are participants of Teen Parent Services - Central (TPS-Central), located at 2014 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. This project enhances and expands upon the existing services of TPS- Central. The project offers services to the siblings (age 7-18) of the teen mother, the parents of the teen mother or mother's long-term boyfriend, the father of the baby, and the paternal grandparents of the baby. The project is designed to help enrolled families with the necessary support to develop and strengthen family unity. These supports include connecting each family member to community resources and involving them in a variety of programs, customized to their own interests and needs typically focusing on education, employment and personal development.

Evaluation of Teen Parent Family Services - 2008

The evaluation team of Dr. Peter Mulhall, Ms. Erin Ficker, and the staff at University of Illinois's Center for Prevention Research and Development (CPRD) work closely with project staff during bimonthly meetings to implement the evaluation plan, discuss data results, and resolve new challenges. CPRD sends a staff member 2-3 times per week to collect data at the comparison site for the project.

At the completion of Year 3, the project had a number of challenges related to program operations, participant recruitment and retention, and follow-up data collection. The results of the evaluation at this time must be viewed cautiously due to concerns with small sample sizes and attrition. Despite these concerns, it does appear that the project does have comparable samples of teen mothers, between the intervention and comparison sites.

TPFS is clearly serving teen moms and family members who are generally poor, in school, receiving public benefits, but have strong aspirations for improving their position in life. The only major baseline group difference appears to be significantly more Hispanic/Latina women in the intervention site.

The outcome results so far are continuing to emerge, but interesting differences can be drawn from the data and compared to the evaluation goals and SMART objectives.

Evaluation Goal: Does the project enhance self-sufficiency through school completion and/or job readiness among all family members?

* SMART Objective: Increase the percentage of teen parents, siblings, and fathers/partners who have completed high school or received their GED from 55% to 65% by October 2008.

The majority of teen mothers in both locations are currently enrolled in school or a GED program; however, most of these participants have not graduated yet, so the percentages are lower than the SMART objective at this time. We also asked the teen mothers' extended family members - fathers and siblings - about their education attainment and expectations: most want to get a GED or finish high school (59% and 52%), and virtually all believe that getting a good education is important (96% and 100%).

An interesting finding related to financial resources and self-sufficiency was the statistically significant finding that teen mothers in the intervention group use of public benefits decreased over time, and was lower than the comparison group's use of public benefits, which increased. This may be related to the greater number of teen mothers in the comparison group who had a subsequent birth (48%) compared to the teen mothers in the project group that did not report any subsequent births at all (0%).

Evaluation Goal: What impact does the TPFS have on the interaction between the teen parent and her child, the involvement of the father and his child, the grandparents and grandchild?

* SMART Objective: Increase the percentage of parenting/caregiver knowledge and skills of the father/partners and grandparents from 70% to 80% and for the teen parents and siblings from 30% to 40% by October 2009.

Teen mother reports of the child's father's interactions with their child showed mixed results. One interesting finding was that mothers reported that fathers in the intervention group play more games with their child, while the comparison group fathers appeared to have decreased their interactions at a statistically significant level. Reports of teen fathers increasing their interactions with their child demonstrated a consistent pattern across the various types of interactions (8 of 8 types of interactions). This may suggest that TPFS fathers may be more engaged with their child either on or off the TPFS site.

Evaluation Goal: Does involvement in the TPFS project improve goal setting/sense of future of teen mothers and extended family members?

* SMART Objective: Increase the percentage of family members (teen parents, father/partners, siblings) who aspire to get more education or training from 75% to 80% by October 2008.

Teen mother reports of their desire to attain goals related to education and training were very high in both the intervention and control groups, exceeding the SMART objective. However, the intervention group showed a 5% increase in desiring additional education and training, compared to a 6% decrease for the comparison group.

Teen mom siblings participating in the TPFS project at a higher level (more hours) reported a stronger commitment to goals and greater sense of future goals than siblings who participated less (fewer hours). Also, a higher "dosage" of TPFS (more hours) is associated with staying enrolled in school.

Evaluation Goal: Does the TPFS program reduce the subsequent pregnancies among teen parents?

* SMART Objective: Maintain the statewide TPFS target to keep subsequent pregnancy rates for teen parents at or below the 1.3% level.

TPFS mothers reported zero pregnancies, while 28 (or 48%) of the teen mothers in the comparison group had subsequent pregnancies. This is a remarkable finding and will require further investigation by the project staff and evaluation team members.

Evaluation Goal: What impact does the TPFS project have on the improvement of immunization rates of child of teen parents?

* SMART Objective: Increase the percentage of child of teen parents with up-to-date immunizations from 80% to 90% by October 2008.

Although the intervention group's immunization rate was higher than the comparison group's rate, and they both increased slightly over time, the level of protection is still 20-40% lower than projected. The project team is trying to understand this by examining immunization rates in the Illinois Department of Human Services' health care billing system. Though unsure, project staff attribute this to the possibility that mothers are having a difficult time keeping track or remembering which immunizations their child received. Therefore, they may not be reporting it accurately on the forms.

Recommendations

Based on the findings presented in this end-of-year report, several recommendations emerge:

  • Continue to identify ways to increase program participation and tracking at the TPFS location.
  • Reduce the attrition rate by using multiple follow-up strategies for locating and gaining cooperation for participants to complete surveys.
  • Identify a way to better link TPFS participants and teen mothers to determine if extended family members' participation has an impact on teen mom outcomes, and whether these outcomes are influenced by levels of (e.g., hours of) participation.
  • Further investigation must be made to understand the high differential subsequent birth rates, as well as lower than expected immunization rates.

Teen Parent Family Services (Adolescent Family Life)

Evaluation Design Peter Mulhall, Ph.D.

Indicators / Measures Tools / Instruments / Data Sources Other Deliverables / Comments
Evaluation Objectives for FY08-FY09:
  • Meet or exceed the Teen Parent Services statewide program minimum performance target of 84% for immunizations for Adolescent Family Life Demonstration (AFLD) participants by August 31, 2010. The AFLD immunization percent is 85%.
  • Meet or exceed the AFLD program minimum performance target of 40% for High School/GED completion for sibling and young father/partner participants by August 31, 2010.
  • Meet or exceed the minimum performance target of 75% of family members (TPS teen mothers, AFLD father/partners and siblings) who aspire to get more education or training by August 31, 2010.
  • Decrease the number of subsequent births to teen mothers who have family members in the AFLD project from the statewide Teen Parent Services minimum target of no greater than 4.0% to below 1.0 % by August 31, 2010.
  • Meet or exceed the minimum performance target of 20% employment rate for AFLD participants (grandparents and partners of teen mother/child's father) by August 31, 2010.
  • Meet or exceed the minimum targeted percentage of 70% for family members' survey response indicating that they positively interact with the teen mother's child(ren) by August 31, 2010; meet or exceed the minimum targeted percentage of 30% for teen mother's survey response indicating that, according to her perception, her family members positively interact with her child(ren) by August 31, 2010.
  • Process indicators:
  • type of services
  • number of services provided
  • participation in core service and supplemental service areas
  • teen and family member participants are surveyed to assess social-demographic background, levels of education, educational aspirations, number and types of positive social interactions with family members, contraceptive behavior, and parental competency/attachment/and commitment
  • increase the percent of babies meeting developmental milestones.
  • Intake assessments
  • Participant service/logs
  • Federally required core surveys for parenting and pregnant teens
  • Family surveys assessing parent-child communication, parenting skills, family support, family-child interaction, future career and educational aspirations
The evaluation team developed a Program Management Information System (PMIS) data base for Teen Parent Family Services which tracks participation, case status, activities, and referrals for external services.