The three year program addressing multiple issues for teen parents will involve 600 adolescent parents and their families. Teen parents who are TANF eligible, identified as being at-risk for substance abuse, under 18 and perceived to be under-served will be referred by TANF offices and other agencies. They will be randomly selected into intervention and control groups (300 each). These teens will be from two diverse sites: (a) a multi-cultural urban-based site in Colorado Springs, Colorado with primary program sponsor being the El Paso County Health Department (180 teen parents, their children and their extended families) and (b) a rural site in the Four Corners Area of the Southwest with two components, Montezuma County in Southwestern Colorado (Caucasian, Hispanic and Native American populations) and the northern region of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, 100% Native American (420 teen parents, their children and families). Co-Sponsors for this site include the Bureau of Indian Affairs (Shiprock Agency), Colorado State University Cooperative Extension (DARE to be You Program), Southwest BOCES (Southwest Open High School) and the Teen Life Center in Shiprock, N.M. The CSUCE DARE to be You program will be the coordinating agency.
The diverse population (at least 65% minority teens) will allow the impact of the intervention design to be tested in multiple cultural settings. The study will determine the impact of a four part plan to prevent or reduce alcohol, tobacco and drug use, improve academic performance, reduce subsequent pregnancies, and improve parent practices and life skills.
Specialized case-managers in each site will recruit, support, and track the teen parents in the intervention for a minimum of two years. Case managers will (1) establish relationships with teens and families as culturally appropriate, (2) design individualized case management plans for each teen parent and family including components to improve educational status, reduce subsequent pregnancies, prevent or reduce alcohol or substance abuse, and to address mental health and other developmentally appropriate issues, (3) establish ongoing supportive relationships that will be provided by the case manager personally or through existing, approved home visitor programs, (4) refer families to the DARE to be You family classes that have shown to significantly increase resiliency factors to the problem behaviors identified above. The family classes have been documented to enhance family relationships and develop natural support systems between participating families. The children simultaneously participate in a developmentally appropriate life skill development program (infant through 6 years of age). Teen parent focus groups will have feedback into and monitor the program.
An incentive program will be used to recruit and retain teen parents, significant others, parents and other key family members. Control teens will receive an incentive to complete questionnaires. Travel vouchers will be available for teens, and local collaborators will assist with daycare. Collaborating agencies will form steering committees including teen parents.