Pregnancy and Parenting Among Iowa Youth Transitioning From Foster Care: Survey and Focus Group Results.
Melby, Janet. Rouse, Heather. Jordan, Tera. Weems, Carl.
Iowa State University. Child Welfare Research and Training Project.
Iowa State University. Department of Human Development and Family Studies.
iv, 56 p.
Published: September 2018
Prevent Child Abuse Iowa
505 Fifth Avenue, Suite 900
Des Moines, IA 50309
Tel: 515-244-2200 800-237-1815
The Youth Policy Institute of Iowa (YPII), in collaboration with Iowa State University (ISU), and key stakeholders, received a grant to develop and adopt new or revised policy, program, and practice recommendations to address the high rate of unintended pregnancies among Iowa youth transitioning from foster care. The project was also designed to inform the development and implementation of policies and practices to help break the cycle of multi-generational involvement in child welfare by increasing protective factors and mitigating risk factors among young parents who have been in foster care. This report details research findings from an empirical study conducted to assist the project that utilized quantitative data from surveys and qualitative data from focus groups conducted with 81 youth ages 18-26 who had been in foster care at some point prior to age 18. Findings indicate: many youth started their sexual experiences at early ages and had multiple partners and pregnancies; the primary sources of information about reproductive health and sexuality were from school classes, online, and sometimes parents, but very little information (if any) came from service professionals; while youth overwhelmingly reported that it was a shared responsibility to prevent pregnancy (92.5%), only 22% reported always using birth control; the majority of females wished they had waited to have sex (68%); and while the majority of females reported receiving early and consistent prenatal care, few females or males participated in birthing or parenting classes. Findings also highlight the strength of a mixed methods approach that offered more nuanced understanding of the experiences of youth who were pregnant or parenting. Recommendations for pregnancy prevention are made. 11 tables, 2 figures, and 3 references.
Iowa; adolescent pregnancy; foster adolescents; adolescent childbearing; adolescent parents; pregnancy counseling; teenage mothers; adolescent pregnancy prevention; childs attitudes; youth services; child welfare reform; education; sexuality; guidelines