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Teen Parent Connection A holistic approach to representing minor parents who are in foster care .” Presented By: Molly Casey, System of Care Administrator. Teen Parent Connection Darice M. Good & Diana Rugh Johnson, Georgia Office of Family Representation

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Teen Parent Connection

A holistic approach to representing minor parents who are in foster care.”

Presented By:

Molly Casey, System of Care Administrator. Teen Parent Connection

Darice M. Good & Diana Rugh Johnson, Georgia Office of Family Representation

The Honorable Vincent Crawford, Juvenile Court of Dekalb County.


Teen parent connection
Teen Parent Connection

  • Creation and funding

  • What is Teen Parent Connection?

  • Who do we serve?

    • How do we select who we serve?

    • How are teen parents referred to us?

  • What services do we provide?

    • Pyramid of Services?


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Teen Parent Connection

  • What are our services?

    • Life Coaches directly provide or ensure referrals to provide:

      • Screenings and assessments;

      • Peer support and advocacy;

      • Job skills training;

      • Career placement;

      • Foster parent and teen parent training;

      • Parenting skills including child development, nutrition, empathy and nurturing parenting skills;

      • Financial literacy;

      • Educational support;

      • Medical and healthcare support;

      • Childcare assistance;

      • Legal consultation and support;

      • Transportation assistance;

      • Housing referrals;

      • Additional resources targeted to the individual needs of the teen parent and her/his child.


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Teen Parent Connection

  • When do services begin and end?

  • How do we work?

  • Partners

    • Independent Living Program of Georgia DFACS

    • Multi Alliance Agency for Children

    • Georgia Campaign for the Prevention of Pregnancy

    • Georgia Office of Family Representation

    • House of Dawn, Inc.

    • Ringer Employment Services – Youth on the M.O.V.E.

    • Georgia EmpowerMEnt

    • Creative Community Services

    • CHRIS Kids


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Teen Parent Connection

  • Role of Georgia Office of Family Representation

    • Legal Consultation

      • Life Coaches

    • Legal Presentations

      • Life Coaches

      • Partners

      • Teens

    • Legal Representation

    • Know Your Rights brochure


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Teen Parent Connection

  • All parents—including minor parents—have a right and obligation to the Care, Custody, and Control of their children

  • It is the joint and several duty of each parent to provide for the maintenance, protection, and education of his or her child until the child reaches the age of majority. . . except to the extent that the duty of the parents is otherwise or further defined by court order.


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Teen Parent Connection

  • Different Roles of Representation

    • Parents Attorney for Minor Parent

    • Guardian Ad Litem for Minor Parent

    • Guardian Ad Litem for Minor Child

    • Child Attorney for Minor Parent

    • Child Attorney for Minor Child

    • CASA for Minor Parent

    • CASA for Minor Child


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Teen Parent Connection

Minor Child does not have to be in foster care even if Minor Parent is in foster care.

  • Know your state’s Policy and Federal Law

    • Georgia DFCS Policy: (Georgia EmpowerMent) The IV-E Program allows a state to claim IV-E reimbursement for the cost of an infant living in the same placement as his/her minor parent. This provision does NOT require DFCS to obtain custody of the child.

    • NOTE: The child shall remain in the custody of his or her minor parent, unless it is otherwise determined by the SSCM that the minor parent’s protective capacities places the infant in danger of imminent harm and that the placement resource’s protective capacities are not sufficient to mitigate the risk of harm.


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Teen Parent Connection

  • Help Minor Parent make a game plan to prevent removal.

    • Be active and health conscious during your pregnancy.

    • Read materials and attend classes on pregnancy and parenting.

    • Attend and be involved in all medical appointments.

    • Follow all rules of your current placement.

    • Attend School and/or find or continue employment.

    • Participate in and actively utilize your Written Transitional Living Plan.

    • Plan for quality Child Care

    • Plan for Medical Coverage for Child.

    • Identify Family, Friends or Groups for support.

  • Ensure Department makes reasonable efforts to prevent removal

    • The WTLP for a pregnant foster youth

    • Case plan

    • Housing

    • Employment

    • Medical Care

    • Nutrition

    • Participation by Minor Parent


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Teen Parent Connection

  • If removal is necessary or you cannot prevent removal.

  • Try to have minor child placed with minor parent.

  • Look at alternatives to custody.

    • Protective Orders

    • Temporary Custody to Relative

    • Safety Resource


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Teen Parent Connection

  • Make sure Minor Parent documents his/her case.

    • Keep a File

      • Case plan, safety plan

      • Individual service plan (ISP)

      • Written Transitional Living Plan (WTLP)

      • Medical records

      • Educational records

      • Court Reports

      • Court Orders

    • Keep a log

      • Court hearings

      • All telephone conversations, attempted calls, and messages left

        • DFCS/CM/ILC

        • Attorney

        • Child Attorney

        • Guardian Ad Litem

        • CASA

        • Always Use Email and Written Communication


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Teen Parent Connection

  • Regaining custody of the Minor Child

    • Motion to Modify Custody

    • Review Hearing

    • Options

      • With Protective Order

      • Without Protective Order

  • If regaining custody is not possible,

    • Termination of Parental Rights

    • Alternatives:

      • Temporary and Permanent Guardianship to relative or 3rd party.

      • Motion to Modify Custody to relative or 3rd party.

      • Compelling reason and continued placement with DFCS.


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Teen Parent Connection

  • Five Measurable Outcomes that the Court looks for as Minor Parents age out of care and regain custody of their Minor Child.

    • Education: Youth acquire sufficient education, training, and opportunities that provide them with choices to pursue post-secondary education.

    • Employment: Youth generate a sufficient income to support themselves by obtaining and retaining steady age-appropriate employment leading to a viable career path.


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Teen Parent Connection

  • Housing: Youth have access to safe, stable, appropriate, affordable housing in the community that is near public transportation, work or school.

  • Health: Youth have sufficient and affordable health insurance for medical, dental, and mental health needs.

  • Permanency/Supportive Relationships: Youth have in place supportive relationships that are able to assist them with accessing services in the community to help achieve their personal goals and support their efforts to contribute to civic life.


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Teen Parent Connection

  • What is the Court’s role in reviewing the five measurable outcomes and what can the Court to do to ensure the five measurable outcomes are being met?

    • Review Hearings

      • Review both case plan for Minor Child and Minor Parent

      • Review minor parent’s WTLP within thirty (30) days of turning fourteen.

      • Periodic review hearings.

      • Review WTLP within ninety (90) days of turning 18.

    • Permanency Hearings


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Teen Parent Connection

  • Questions that the Court should be asking the Minor Parent:

    • Are you familiar with the Independent Living Program?

      • What is your understanding?

    • Are you familiar with signing yourself back into care?

      • What is your understanding?

    • Have you met and gone over plan with a representative from DFCSconcerning ILPprogram?

    • Have you met and gone over plan with child advocate/CASA/GAL?

    • Are there any changes or amendments you would like to make to the plan?


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Teen Parent Connection

  • 18 and older additional questions;

  • Have they explained and you understand the benefits concerning?

    • Education

    • Housing

    • Financial

  • Are you signing yourself back into care? (90 Days from 18th birthday)

  • Did you take the Ansell Casey Risk Assessment?

  • Do you have your Birth Certificate, SSC and Identification?

  • Are you participating in the ILP program?

  • Did you sign a WTLP plan?

  • Are you satisfied with that plan?

  • Where do you plan to live? Relatives?


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Teen Parent Connection

  • Court’s Motto:

    • If you Fail to Plan you Plan to Fail!


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Teen Parent Connection

  • Why does it matter?

  • Evaluation of teens participating in similar programs show an increase in:

    • HS graduation rates and GED attainment; enrollment in advanced education

    • Employability

    • Child support

    • Reunification with their children

    • Stable housing

  • These teen moms show improvement in:

    • Life skills such as budgeting, nutrition, planning, regular health care

    • Parenting/nurturing skills: improved parenting inventory scores on inappropriate expectations, empathy and role reversal 

  • Teen moms in these programs show a decrease in:

    • Child abuse

    • Subsequent pregnancies

    • TANF benefits 

  • Children of these teen mothers show an increase in:

    • Immunizations; health checks

    • Age appropriate development


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Teen Parent Connection

  • Success of Teen Parent Connection

    • “Y’all help me with everything! You helped me get to appointments, find a job and enroll in specialized parenting classes to help me mother an autistic child.” (JR, age 18, 2 children, 3yrs; 11 mos.)

    • “Teen Parent Connection has helped me to become a better mother." (DW, age 18, 2 children 4yrs; 3 weeks)

    • “TPC has helped me in so many ways." (DB, age 19, 1 child, 18 mos.)”

    • “I like having someone to call who listens to me. I love my coach.” (OD, age 15, 1 child, 4 mos.)

    • “You help me meet my goals so I can have my baby back.” (EJ, age 17, 1 child, 4 yrs.)

    • “I love the classes--especially the parenting and child development classes.” (NJ, 19, 2 children, 5yrs. & 1yr.)


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Teen Parent Connection


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