Helping Young Parents in Foster Care Become the Parents Their Children Need
Illinois Pregnant and Parenting Youth in Care (IPPYC) Home Visiting pilot works to break the cycle of abuse and neglect.
The research is clear. Children whose parents are in foster care are at high risk of being abused and neglected and being removed from their parents and placed into foster care themselves.
Think about why. Their parents have had a traumatic childhood – suffering abuse and neglect serious enough to be removed from their home. As adolescents and young adults, they still haven’t found a permanent home, living with a foster family or in a transitional living program or group home. They have had few – if any – positive role models to show them how to nurture a young child. They want to be good parents but don’t know how.
Children’s Home & Aid is leading the search for those answers. Home visiting programs providing specially-trained home visitors who work with parents to build their skills and promote their children’s healthy development – show evidence of reducing child abuse and neglect. But these programs haven’t always been available to young parents who are in the foster care system.
Children’s Home & Aid, through its Ahlquist Center for Policy, Practice & Innovation, worked with state government and partner organizations to develop and implement the Illinois Pregnant and Parenting Youth in Care (IPPYC) Home Visiting pilot. For over two years, the IPPYC pilot worked specifically with pregnant and parenting youth in care, providing home visiting in nine communities in Illinois.
The pilot generated important lessons on how to tailor home visiting services to meet the unique situations of parents in foster care – many of whom experience personal crises and frequently change living situations. Illinois is now working to implement these lessons learned in home visiting programs throughout the state.
And the impact of the IPPYC pilot extends beyond Illinois’ borders. Healthy Families America (HFA)– a national home visiting program model – is adapting its practice based, in part, on the work of Children’s Home & Aid. The home visiting model will now accept children up to two years old if they are referred by a child welfare organization. Before this policy change, all children had to be referred to the program within two weeks of birth. This change – and other recommendations promoted by the model – provide greater opportunities to reach young parents in foster care and break the cycle of abuse and neglect.
To view our full report on the Illinois Pregnant and Parenting Youth in Care Home Visiting Pilot Experience, click here.