Pregnant and Parenting Teens in Foster Care

Pregnant and parenting teens in the Cook County Child Protection system face a unique set of challenges. Statistics show a strong need for effective support, guidance, and advocacy in order for these young parents and pregnant youth to succeed in their path to achieving independence.

In a study of foster youth in three Midwestern states, 1/3 reported having been pregnant, and 2/3 of those reported that the pregnancy was unwanted.1 Among older foster girls in Illinois, 40% of African American and 12% of Caucasian girls were pregnant or parenting.2

  • Twenty-eight percent of older girls (17 and up) in foster care in Illinois had custody of one or more children.3
  • Social workers in Illinois reported that, of older foster girls with custody of a child, 30% were having "somewhat of a problem" and another 8% were having "very much of a problem" with parenting.4
  • Pregnancy and parenting doubled the risk of dropping out of school among older foster teens, based on a study of Illinois youth.  Dropping out of high school put youth at high risk of unemployment.5

For more information on this topic, click here

Pregnant and parenting youth in the Cook County Child Protection System are offered several supportive services through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.  Some of these services include:

  • Counseling
  • Health Care
  • Parenting Training
  • Outreach to Fathers
  • Educational Assistance
  • Preventative Services such as family life education, family planning services, family counseling, and sex education (including information on the prevention and treatment of disease as well as the prevention of pregnancy)
  • Respite Care
  • Day Care
  • Review of Placement Options

To help coordinate and ensure pregnant and parenting youth get the full range of supportive services available to them, a Teen Parent Coordinator will be appointed to the youth through the Department of Children and Family Services.

The Teen Parent Coordinator, along with the youth’s attorney/GAL, will advocate for the youth and ensure they receive every opportunity to succeed in their parenting role and assist them in achieving independence.

Useful Links:

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Rule 302 Appendix J: Pregnant and Parenting Program

Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Procedures 302 Appendix J

Illinois Department of Human Services: Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)

1 Courtney, Terao, and Bost, 2004, Midwest Evaluation of the Adult Functioning of Former Foster Youth: Conditions of Youth Preparing to Leave State Care.

2 Leathers and Testa, 2002, Foster Youth Emancipating From Care: Caseworkers' Reports on Needs and Services. Illinois: University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Adams College of Social Work.

3 Leathers and Testa, 2002.

4 Leathers and Testa, 2002.

5 Leathers and Testa, 2002.

Success Stories

Juvenile Success Stories Juvenile
Success stories regarding our juvenile clients Read more
Adult Success Stories Adult
Success stories regarding our disabled adults Read more

What's New Read more

New Policy and Legislation Cook County Public Guardian Files Class Action Lawsuit on Behalf of Children Left Languishing in Locked Psychiatric Facilities Read more
New Policy and Legislation Acting Public Guardian Quoted in ProPublic on Issue of Youth Abused in Psychiatric Hospital Read more
New Policy and Legislation Acting Public Guardian Quoted in Chicago Tribune on Issue of Priest Financially Exploiting Parishioner Read more
New Policy and Legislation Cook County Public Guardian Announces First Issue of The Advocate Newsletter Read more
New Policy and Legislation New Policy & Legislation
Recently passed laws of interest to those representing disabled adults and abused & neglected children in Illinois.
Read more Adult Juvenile
Current Developments OPG Appellate Developments
Recent Appellate and Supreme Court decisions Read more

Youth Advocacy &
Post-Emancipation Services
Important information for current and former clients. Read more
Were you in Foster Care? Are you younger than 26 years old? You get Medicaid Health Insurance! But you have to act now! It's free to sign up!