Regardless of involvement in foster care, all teen parents need support in becoming a parent and successfully navigating the developmental stages of adolescence. Teenagers experience significant changes related to cognitive, emotional, and physical maturity as the brain continues to develop into their mids. As a result, all teen parents need strong support networks and resources in order to develop into successful adults and to parent effectively. Teen parents in foster care face additional challenges that are unique to their situation. Teens in foster care are less likely to finish their schooling and more likely to suffer from mental illness, unemployment, and homelessness than teens not in foster care.
Thousands of teens in foster care are looking for the love, support, and encouragement that families provide throughout their lives—not just until they turn This year, more than 20, young people will leave foster care without a family. Many of them will not have anyone they can call for help, for advice, for a ride when their car breaks down. Studies show that they are at increased risk for homelessness, young parenthood, low educational attainment, high unemployment rates, and other adverse adult outcomes. The good news is that it only takes one person to improve these odds for a young person.
By the time she turned 18 and left the care of Montgomery County Children Services, Jackson and her son had lived in seven foster homes. Because of cases like this one, the county set up two social worker positions to assist teen mothers and their foster parents, said Mary Anne Nelson, interim assistant director for Children Services; and Peggy Weller, supervisor of adolescent services. Only a tiny percentage — 24 cases in Montgomery County — involve moms who are themselves in foster care. Social worker Annie Williams said most of the teen moms became pregnant after entering foster care — in some cases on purpose.
The officers brought the girl back to her latest placement, a home in a quiet neighborhood in rural Shelbyville, Tennessee. And year-old Annemarie Rainwater snapped. She cursed, shouted and railed at her foster mom. After two years of getting screamed at, after two years of pain, after two years of worry and fear, Rick and Phyllis Rainwater did what they knew they had to do. The teen softened and learned to trust her new parents — and to return their love.