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Voices’ Blog

New Report: Opening Doors for Young Parents

Posted:  -  By: Christina Feerick

With limited access to opportunities to advance their education and find family-sustaining jobs, Virginia’s 60,000 young adult parents face hurdles to support their children and fulfill their own potential, according to Opening Doors for Young Parents, the latest KIDS COUNT® policy report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

As the Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT grantee in Virginia, Voices for Virginia’s Children, joined the call for action so these young parents can contribute to the state’s communities and economy.

The fifty-state report reveals that, at eight percent, Virginia is below the national average (10 percent) of youth ages 18 to 24 who are also young parents.

The report highlights the following:

  • 68,000 children in Virginia have young parents ages 18 to 24.
  • 69 percent of children of young parents in Virginia live in low-income families.
  • Only 12 percent of young parents ages 18 to 24 have completed an associate degree or higher.
  • 51 percent of Virginia’s young parents are people of color, facing challenges exacerbated by discrimination and systemic inequities, with their children standing to suffer the most.

Opening Doors for Young Parents illuminates the most common obstacles young adult parents face, including incomplete education, lack of family-sustaining employment opportunities, lack of access to quality child care, inadequate and unstable housing and financial insecurity.

The Casey Foundation stresses the importance of a two-generation approach to equip young parents for success. “If we don’t support young people when they become parents, we are cheating two generations out of having a positive future,” warned Casey Foundation President and CEO Patrick McCarthy. “We can help young adult parents develop the skills they need to raise their children, contribute to their communities, and drive our national economy forward.”

Voices for Virginia’s Children further stresses the importance of helping the state’s young parents access educational and employment opportunities. In an increasingly competitive workforce landscape, education can make a significant difference in earning power for families.

“Young parents have a unique opportunity –they are building vital skills for work and parenting, while their children are in the most critical years of their development, said Executive Director Margaret Nimmo Holland. “The policy solutions we put forth today impact lives across at least two generations. They pave the way for the nearly 2 million children in the Commonwealth to thrive.”

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