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New Chance: teen moms.

A preliminary report on a program to forestall welfare dependency in teen mothers and their children has raised hopes that it will become a model for breaking the cycle of poverty and welfare dependency nationwide.

New Chance, developed by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corp. (MDRC), a New York City-based, nonprofit social policy research organization, provides education and employment services to mothers age 16 to 22 who are high school dropouts and who receive welfare. The report revealed that after four months in the 18-month program, 75% of 930 registered participants remained enrolled. Furthermore, after eight months, 25% had received GEDs, and more than one-third had begun occupational-skills training.

"We're trying to help disadvantaged young mothers become better parents, finish school and find jobs that pay them enough to leave welfare," says Milton J. Little Jr., MDRC vice president and New Chance project director. Little says that 55% of New Chance mothers are black, 25% white and 19% Hispanic.

New Chance, which began as a pilot program in 1985, offers many services, including education and job training, transportation assistance, free child care and counseling. In 1989, the program expanded from six to 16 sites, which can serve a minimum of 150 enrollees each. The cites are located in 10 states, including New York, Michigan and California. Contributions totaling $300,000 from 26 public and private organizations as well as federal and state governments, will fund the program through 1992.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 13.3 million Americans received Aid to Families with Dependent Children (welfare) last year, costing the nation $20.4 billion in benefits. While the median length of time spent on public assistance is 25 months, nearly a quarter of the recipients have been on the rolls five years or more.

The program will continue to be monitored, with a short-term impact study due in 1993. A final report, examining the program's long-term impact and cost-effectiveness, will be due in 1995. For more information, call 212-532-3200.
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Author:Janice, Elizabeth
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Jun 1, 1992
Words:334
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