Welfare to Work:

States Move Unevenly to Serve Teen Parents in JOBS

HRD-93-74: Published: Jul 7, 1993. Publicly Released: Jul 7, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) Training Program, focusing on: (1) the extent to which states have enrolled young mothers receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in JOBS and helped them to complete their secondary education; (2) the approaches states have used to serve teen parents in JOBS; and (3) barriers to teen parents' successfully completing their secondary education while in JOBS.

GAO found that: (1) 24 percent of an estimated 144,000 AFDC teen parents have enrolled in JOBS; (2) states have unevenly enrolled teen parents in JOBS at rates ranging from 7 to 53 percent; (3) the states reviewed have varied considerably in their financial commitment to the JOBS program and the extent to which they emphasized teen parent enrollment; (4) inadequate local services and factors related to teen parents' motivation are key barriers to their completing their secondary education and moving towards self-sufficiency; (5) some teen parents have been incorrectly exempted from JOBS; and (6) action should be taken to ensure that all teen parents are properly identified and informed of JOBS participation requirements.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In July 1993, HHS held a conference with state JOBS directors and used the findings in the report as part of a discussion on serving teen parents in JOBS. The Department continues to use the report to provide technical assistance to the states on correctly identifying teen parents for participation in JOBS.

    Recommendation: Because some teen parents appear to be incorrectly exempted from JOBS, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should take action to determine the extent of the problem and work with the states to correct it, as appropriate.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In a July 1993 conference with state JOBS directors, the Department held discussions on effective ways of identifying teen parents and strategies for informing the dependent teens of their JOBS requirements. The Department also issued an action transmittal on June 17, 1994 (JOBS-ACF-1M-94-5) which addresses this issue.

    Recommendation: Because some evidence suggests that states may be overlooking dependent teen parents, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should take action to ensure that dependent teen parents are properly identified by states and informed of JOBS requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

 

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